updated 6/15/2011 6:18:38 PM ET 2011-06-15T22:18:38

CORTEZ, Colo., June 15, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gone are the days of leisurely vacations on a beach—many of today's travelers are looking for rewarding getaways that make a difference. The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, Colorado, provides travelers with the opportunity to contribute to a worthy endeavor and fulfill a lifelong passion for learning.

By joining fellow archaeology enthusiasts during Crow Canyon's Archaeology Research Program, lifelong learners will be contributing to vital archaeological research while exploring the 1,500-year-old history of the ancestral Pueblo Indians (sometimes called the Anasazi) who inhabited the spectacular mesas, canyons, and plains of the Southwest.

During the weeklong program, participants excavate in the field and analyze artifacts in the lab alongside professional archaeologists and educators. Before heading out to excavate, program participants engage in an introductory hands-on activity designed to teach about the history of the ancestral Pueblo people. Participants also enjoy evening programs by staff archaeologists and guest lecturers, and the week wraps up with a guided tour of nearby Mesa Verde National Park, a World Heritage site. Accommodations are in comfortable Navajo-style log cabins (hogans), and hearty meals are served three times a day.

This summer Crow Canyon is initiating a new research project in southwestern Colorado—the Basketmaker Communities Project. The Center's researchers will be investigating early Pueblo community development during the Basketmaker III period (A.D. 500–750), a time long before the great cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park were built.

The Basketmaker III period (named for the exceptionally fine baskets found at some archaeological sites) was a time of rapid population growth and significant technological advances for the Pueblo people. Archaeology Research Program participants will be seeing some of the first pottery produced by the Pueblo Indian people and will be discovering how the Pueblo people first formed communities during this pivotal time in their history.

Space is still available in Archaeology Research Programs in August. To sign up or get more information, call 1-800-422-8975, ext. 160, or e-mail travel@crowcanyon.org. For more information on the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, visit www.crowcanyon.org .

Joyce Alexander
Communications Specialist
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
23390 Road K
Cortez, Colorado 81321
1-800-422-8975, ext. 162

About the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

The not-for-profit Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, located near Cortez, Colorado, conducts long-term, multidisciplinary research into the ancestral Pueblo Indians of the southwestern United States and provides experiential education programs for adults and children. The Center also collaborates with American Indians on a wide variety of initiatives of mutual interest, including research projects, education curricula, and language- and cultural-preservation programs.

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