About SAR Member Field Trips
Each year, SAR invites members on exciting trips across the Southwest. Led by scholars and experts ranging from anthropologists and archaeologists to art historians and Native American artists, each field trip offers a one-of-a kind experience. With a mix of regional day and overnight trips, there is sure to be something for everyone. Read below about this season’s mix of locations and topics.
Current SAR members may attend these popular field trips, which are offered on seasonal schedules throughout the year and range from half-day trips to adventures lasting several days.
If you are not yet a member of SAR, please click here to learn more about our membership benefits and join today.
Originally part of a stereoview, photograph courtesy Jason S. Ordaz
Trip Activity Levels
- Easy: Limited walking. Participants must be able to get in and out of vans and walk unassisted short distances from parking areas to museums or art studios.
- Moderate: Participants must be in good health. Activities may require walking on paved or unpaved surfaces with generally firm footing, over distances of up to 2 miles over the course of the day.
- Strenuous: Participants must be in excellent health, extremely mobile, and accustomed to an active lifestyle. Activities may require hiking off-trail, over uneven ground with elevation changes of 500 feet, and walking the equivalent of up to 5 miles over the course of the day.
To keep our field trips operating smoothly and fairly, SAR implements the following cancellation policy:
If an individual participant cancels, all monies will be refunded up to six weeks prior to the trip date except for any tickets already purchased, or penalties incurred from the hotel for room cancellation. The donation portion of the trip is not refundable.
In addition, if the cancellation of this individual brings the trip total to under the minimum number, then a full refund also cannot be made. At six weeks prior, no refunds will be made.
SAR reserves the right to cancel a field trip if registration is too low to make it economically viable or for other reasons, including, but not limited to: weather, safety, forest fires, unavailability of trip leader, etc. In such cases SAR will refund registrants’ fees in full. SAR also reserves the right to make changes to an advertised itinerary as circumstances require.
2019 Member Field Trips
Archaic Rock Art on Rowe Mesa
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Cost per person:
$150 (Includes a $25 non-refundable tax-deductible donation to SAR)
Field trip limited to 18 participants.
Click here to register.
With Study Leader Richard Ford, we will be spending time on Glorieta Mesa, commonly referred to as Rowe Mesa. The mesa is formed primarily of Triassic, Permian, and Pennsylvania sedimentary rocks and uplifted in Pennsylvanian times, 30 to 286 million years ago, providing the materials of the Sangre de Cristo formation.
Walking the same land as hunters and gatherers did thousands of years ago, we will visit two major Archaic petroglyph sites. They were both used for ceremonies and are unusual for their orientation. We typically look at petroglyphs on hillsides, but in this case, the petroglyphs face skyward and we will be looking down on them. Photography is highly recommended.
The first site is about 5,000 years old and all of its images are abstract. The second site is younger. It, too, has many abstract images but some are evolving into naturalistic forms. These are the largest Archaic petroglyph sites of this time period in New Mexico.
We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch at the Pecos National Historical Park in between site visits.
Richard Ford completed his BA in Anthropology at Oberlin College and then his Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Michigan where he rose the ranks to Full professor of Anthropology and Botany. While at Michigan, he had many administrative appointments as Curator of Ethnology and Director of the Ethnobotanical Laboratory in the Museum of Anthropology, director of the Museum of Anthropology for 11 years, Chairman of the Department of Anthropology, Associate Dean of Research and Computing in the Literary College. He taught as a visiting professor at Cincinnati, Utah, Washington, Colorado College, SMU, UM Biological Station, Wayne State (MI), and Michigan State, and in China and Mexico abroad.
His ethnobotanical research brought him to Poland, Tunisia, Kenya, Mexico, Canada, The Bahamas, China, and several Midwestern and Southwestern States. He has published 135 articles and chapters and nine research monographs as a result of his travel.
He received numerous awards from professional organizations including the Amal Amique award in India, Distinguished Ethnobiologist from the Society of Ethnobiology, the Fryxell Award from the Society of American Archaeology, the Franz Boas Award from AAA, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as numerous lesser local honors.
In retirement he is an active lecturer and archaeology tour guide. He also serves as a legal expert witness for several Pueblos in their land and water cases.
Activity Level: Low – easy walking tour. The footing is secure and the hiking distances are short with no hills to climb.
Includes: Transportation in a Sprinter Van; water and snacks; a picnic lunch from Mucho in Santa Fe; entry fees and gratuities.
In conjunction with this trip, Richard will be teaching a 4-session course, Rock Art of the Rio Grande Basin in Northern New Mexico, October 1, 8, 15, and 22.
Mimbres Lives and Landscapes
November 21 – 24, 2019
Cost per person:
Double Occupancy: $1,965 (Includes a $100 non-refundable tax-deductible donation to SAR)
Single Occupancy: $2,115 (Includes a $100 non-refundable tax-deductible donation to SAR)
Field trip limited to 15 participants.
Due to the limited capacity of the trip, please send your registration request directly to Amy Schiffer, Membership Coordinator at email@example.com or call 505-954-7245.
Priority is given to Galisteo members and up.
Mimbres cultures in southern New Mexico are among the most intriguing and controversial of the many ancient Puebloan peoples in the Southwest United States. Mimbres potters produced shallow black and white bowls of unique artistry, which are displayed by art museums around the world. These bowls are so visually arresting that, over the years, looters have destroyed the vast majority of ancient Mimbres sites in search of their pottery.
Due to a recent controversy over the display of Mimbres pots involving the Chicago Art Institute, Native American individuals—including those from descendent communities, other art museums, and archeologists, the exhibit was canceled. In fact, since many existing Mimbres ceramics are associated with funerary sites, the Indian Arts Research Center does not display the vast majority of its Mimbres collection out of respect for descendent communities. A handful of non-funerary Mimbres pottery, however, is available for viewing.
These complex issues will be discussed with our study leader, Steve Lekson, and Fumi Arakawa, the Director of the University Museum and an Associate Professor of Anthropology at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, who recently mounted a successful collaborative Mimbres exhibit. We will also visit some of the surviving Mimbres sites as well as museums where many of the pots now live.
In researching Mimbres culture, what has been lost in most cases is the context of the pots: what was their purpose? Were these burial offerings or did they serve multiple purposes? So, what do we know?
We know that Classic-period Mimbres people lived along the Mimbres and nearby upper Gila Rivers between AD 1000 and 1150. Their communities were among the largest of their times and arguably the earliest “Pueblo”-style towns. Their history was intertwined with Hohokam, Chaco, and Casas Grandes cultures. The majority of their ceramics employ geometric motifs suggestive of mountains and weather phenomena such as lightning, clouds, and rainfall. While most designs are symmetrical patterns that rotate around an open, central space in the bottom of the bowl, the best-known motifs represent animals such as rabbits, deer, humans, bears, and fantastical creatures. There are other examples of creatures in the Pueblo world, but nothing like the Mimbres. You will see some of the largest collections in public institutions, which include some of the best examples.
Our accommodations and meals for the first two days will be provided by the famous, historic Bear Mountain Lodge, a classic 1920s, New Mexico-style lodge located on 178 acres just three miles northwest of Silver City. The entire lodge has been reserved for SAR participants, so we will have full use of the facilities including the library, and the lodge’s Great Room with its two stone fireplaces. The third night will be at the Hampton Inn in Deming.
Through this trip, participants will have the opportunity to explore the complex and sometimes difficult issues around the public display of Mimbres pottery.
Steve Lekson is a retired professor of anthropology and curator at the Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado, Boulder. He has directed more than forty archaeological projects throughout the Southwest, mainly in the Mimbres and Four Corners areas. His principal interests are human geography, built environments, government, and migrations. He is the author of A History of the Ancient Southwest, an SAR Press publication.
Activity Level: Moderate, involves getting on and off the bus, standing, and a long walks on uneven grounds.
Includes: Transportation in air-conditioned mini coach; water and snacks; room and board for 3 nights; guides, entry fees, and gratuities.
NOTE: Due to the limited capacity of the trip, please send your registration request directly to Amy Schiffer, Membership Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 505-954-7245. Priority is given to Galisteo members and up.
2019 Past Member Field Trips
Historic Churches of Northern New Mexico
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Cost per person:
$215 (Includes a $25 non-refundable tax-deductible donation to SAR)
Field trip limited to 20 participants.
Stone and adobe historic churches are plentiful in New Mexico, but over time many have lost cultural and artistic integrity due to theft, structural changes, or abandonment. Join SAR on a special guided journey to four notable exceptions on the High Road to Taos: The Santuario de Chimayó, which is a major pilgrimage destination; and the village churches in Córdova, Truchas, and Las Trampas, which are rarely seen by non-parishioners.
Our visit to the magnificent interiors of these churches will be guided by author and historian, Frank Graziano and art historian Robin Gavin. With decades of work dedicated to the exploration of these churches and their cultural significance, our guides provide distinct perspectives that will enrich our understanding of these structures.
Built between 1770 and 1832, these buildings represent some of the moist important examples of late New Spain colonial period art and architecture. The structures reflect an era of rapid political and social change following the Bourbon reforms and leading up to Mexican independence. The artwork in particular, produced by some of the most prolific artists of New Mexico’s colonial period, is a masterful blending of Spanish and Native American aesthetic from which emerged a new and quintessentially New Mexican artistic tradition. Participants will have the unique opportunity to explore the history, iconography, and stylistic characteristics of these artworks, the lives of the artists who made them, all within the context of place and community.
Also included on the trip are the San Lorenzo mission at Picurís Pueblo, and the historic areas of the pueblo, which feature a round tower kiva in a spectacular setting. Lunch will take place at Sugar Nymphs Bistro in Peñasco (and might include a piece of carrot cake, if we’re lucky).
Frank Graziano has published numerous books on religious cultures with Oxford University Press, including his newest publication Historic Churches of New Mexico Today (2019). Graziano is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright and Fulbright-Hays programs, the John Carter Brown Library, Duke University, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, among many others. Between 1999 and 2016 he was John D. MacArthur Professor of Hispanic Studies at Connecticut College.
Robin Farwell Gavin is an art historian with a background in Southwest anthropology and archaeology. She received a BA in Anthropology and Art History from Connecticut College and an MA in Art History from the University of New Mexico. She began her career as an archaeologist with the Museum of New Mexico’s Laboratory of Anthropology, working throughout the state. After returning to graduate school at UNM, she focused on Spanish colonial art and subsequently served as curator of Spanish Colonial collections at the Museum of International Folk Art and chief curator for the newly opened Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. She has authored several books and articles, including Converging Streams: Art of the Hispanic and Native American Southwest (2010). Gavin retired from the MoSCA in 2017. She continues to research and write on various topics related to colonial art of the Southwest.
Activity Level: Low-Moderate, involves getting on and off the bus, standing, and a short walk on uneven ground at Picuris Pueblo.
Includes: Transportation in air-conditioned mini coach; water and snacks; lunch at Sugar Nymphs Bistro in Peñasco; guides, entry fees, and gratuities.
In conjunction with this trip, Frank presents in our Summer Salon Series (Wednesday, June 26).
Native American Arts and Trading Posts of the Southwest
April 25-27, 2019
Cost per person:
Double Occupancy – $1,052 (includes a $100 tax-deductible donation to SAR)
Single Occupancy – $1,174 (includes a $100 tax-deductible donation to SAR)
For hundreds of years, people of the American Southwest traded among themselves. They used a system of barter to exchange everything from furs, bison hides, foods, woven material, and clothing to pottery, beads, feathers, and turquoise. In the 1800s, the establishment of trading posts linked southwestern trade networks to those in the middle and eastern United States. Besides trade goods, trading posts provided places where people from different cultures exchanged ideas.
The traders were a tough breed. They often lived alone, miles from the nearest settlement, at a time when there were few roads and few or no cars or trucks. They learned to speak local languages and often acted as doctors, mediators, and postal workers for their Indian neighbors. They built trading posts out of the available materials of stone, logs, and adobe to store their supplies. The trading post became a center for socializing and exchanging information as well as goods. Besides storerooms, trading posts typically had a public room for trading where people could sit and talk for hours, often around a wood-burning stove.
Today, most of the historic trading posts have closed, but there are a few that remain open and still trade with the local native cultures. Join fellow SAR members as we visit some of the most iconic trading posts in the Southwest. Learn about their history as well as their relationships with the surrounding Native American communities. Visits include Shiprock Trading Post, where we will meet with owners Kent and Hillary Morrow and silversmith Perry Shorty and Teec Nos Pos, where we will have a weaving demonstration by artist Roy Kady and tour by owner John McCulloch and Kathleen Foutz. On day two, the group will spend the morning at Toadlena Trading Post with owners Mark and Linda Winter who have invited the group for lunch and a weaving demonstration. We will tour at the Hubbell Trading Post, which has been serving Ganado since 1978 selling goods and Native American Art, and Joe Milos Trading Company which has been trading with the Navajo, Zuni and Hopi people since 1943.
We will meet with the executive director of the Navajo Nation Museum who will enlighten us on commerce and its impact on trade practices, art production and the cultural effect on the Native American communities, both good and bad. On the last day, the group will visit Zuni Pueblo and meet with Wells Mahkee, Jr. of Zuni Pueblo Main Street and another tribal member to learn about the arts at Zuni and the revitalization of their community.
Activity Level: Easy: Limited walking. Participants must be able to get in and out of vans and walk unassisted short distances from parking areas to museums or art studios.
Includes: Overnight accommodations at the Best Western in Farmington and the historic El Rancho Hotel in Gallup; two breakfasts, three lunches and one dinner; water and snacks on the bus; all admission fees and artist gratuities; and air-conditioned bus.
Exploring the Tewa World: Posi-Ouinge and The Youngblood Family of Santa Clara Pueblo
May 4, 2019
Cost per person:
$270 (Includes a $25 tax-deductible donation to SAR)
Study Leader: Porter Swentzell and Kurt Anschuetz
The Tewa people have lived in northern New Mexico for centuries, including the modern villages of Santa Clara, Okhay Owingeh, San Ildefonso, Tesuque, Pojoaque, and Nambe Pueblos. The ancestral villages of the Tewa are scattered along the tributaries of the Rio Chama and Rio Grande, including the archaeological site called “Posi-Ouinge” located near Ojo Caliente.
The story of Posi-Ouinge is a central part of the Tewa people’s history of their origin. The Summer People and the Winter People were at one-time divided as they traveled down the Rio Grande and Rio Chama toward the Española Valley, which is the heart of the Tewa’s traditional homeland. Each group built a series of villages as they made their journey. Eventually, the Tewas united to become a single community, and they lived together at one village, a place they call Posi-Ouinge “the greenness pueblo” above the Ojo Caliente hot springs. Leaving—but never forgetting—Posi-Ouinge as a place of residence, mixed groups of Summer and Winter People resumed their ancestor’s journey downstream to found the Tewa Pueblos that we know today.
Posi was a thriving center of Tewa village life from the late 1300’s until early 1500’s, just before the arrival of the Spanish. Inhabited by generations of people for over a century, this large adobe village may have had as many as 1,000 ground floor rooms and almost as many on the second and third stories.
Today, Santa Clara Pueblo is one of six Tewa-speaking Pueblos in New Mexico and is the home of many notable potters including Nancy Youngblood. We will have the honor of meeting with and hearing from Nancy who is from a long line of remarkable potters including Sara Fina Tafoya and Margaret Tafoya. Known for her highly polished and precise ribbed and swirled pottery, Nancy won Best of Show at SWAIA Indian Market in 1989 and Best of Class in Pottery in SWAIA’s 2015 and 2018 markets.
During our visit, not only will we have the opportunity to witness an outdoor firing and enjoy a traditional Pueblo meal at Santa Clara Pueblo, we also will meet some of Nancy’s illustrious family. Finally we will learn about their ancestors who helped put Santa Clara blackware pottery on the map, the Tafoya’s of Santa Clara Pueblo. SAR is privileged to hold six pots by great-grandmother Sara Fina Tafoya, four by grandmother Margaret Tafoya, and one by mother Mela Youngblood in the Indian Arts Research Center collections.
Porter Swentzell and Kurt Anschuetz will be our guides into the ancestral Tewa world of Posi and the contemporary Tewa community of Santa Clara Pueblo or“Kha’p’o Owingeh”, translated as the “Valley of the Wild Roses.” Porter Swentzell is from a family of artisans, farmers, and scholars at Santa Clara Pueblo. He was the first person to receive a Bachelors of Arts in Pueblo Indian Studies at Northern New Mexico College, received his PhD in Philosophy at Arizona State University, and is currently Assistant Professor and Chair of Indigenous Liberal Studies, at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Kurt F. Anschuetz, received his MA at the University of New Mexico and his PhD at the University of Michigan. He is an anthropologist and archaeologist, who is engaged in long-term projects documenting the history of occupation by Pueblo peoples and their agricultural water management in the Tewa Basin, including the vicinity of Posi-Ouinge. He also provides technical assistance to the Pueblo of Acoma in its efforts to protect its traditional cultural relationships with Mount Taylor.
Activity Level: Moderate, involves climbing a steep, slick-rock escarpment and walking on an uneven dirt trail to reach Posi-Ouinge’s great mounds of melted adobe. Round trip, the hike will cover approximately one mile. Lunch will be a traditional meal at the Santa Clara Pueblo followed by artist demonstration.
Includes: Transportation in air-conditioned mini coach; traditional pueblo meal at Santa Clara Pueblo; and pottery demonstration by Santa Clara potter
2018 Past Member Field Trips
Artistry of Hopi
October 26-29, 2018
Cost per person:
Double Occupancy – $1,470 (Includes a $100 tax-deductible donation to SAR)
Single Occupancy – $1,655 (includes a $100 tax-deductible donation to SAR)
Study Leader: Bertram “Tsaava” Tsavadawa
Across three decades the IARC has hosted seventy-five Native American artists within its annual fellowship programs. Seven of these artists have come from Hopi; this trip offers a rare opportunity to peek into the working studios of three former Hopi artist fellows and see the direct impact of the IARC fellowship on their current work.
On this trip, we will see a variety of Hopi art forms. We will learn not only about how the artists create their work, but also how they are involved with their community. We will visit with Ramson Lomatewama (2005 SAR King fellow, Hopi glass and katsina artist) and Iva Honyestewa (SAR 2014 Dobkin fellow and Hopi basketweaver and figure artist) in their studios.
The ceremonial calendar is rich and full at Hopi. If we are fortunate during our visit, we may have the opportunity to witness the Basket Dance. Our Hopi guide will share the history of the Basket Dance and connect us with many of these outstanding artists.
Additional stops will be a visit to the Hubble Trading Post and a private tour of the Tawaaki petroglyph panel. Taawaki (Dawa Park) contains over 15,000 petroglyphs dating from 500 BCE to 1300 CE. This sacred site can only be visited with a Hopi certified guide and contains seventeen solar calendars.
Bertram “Tsaava” Tsavadawa’s birth name is Bertram Walker, and he is Hopi/Hualapai/Havasupai. He will guide you on an exclusive tour of Old Oraibi village, Daawa Petroglyphs site, and Walpi village. He will also give a lecture on Hopi ancestry, history, and present-day understandings.
Tsavadawa is from Old Oraibi village and is a member of the Piikyas Corn Clan. Upon graduating from high school, he attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, where he majored in museum studies. In 1991, he participated in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., for two weeks, earning him recognition in the 2000 Outstanding Artist & Designers of the 20th Century from the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England. Tsavadawa was a participant in the Katsina Carvers Convocation, hosted by SAR in 2004, which explored contemporary issues in Hopi katsina carving. Two of his carvings are housed in the Indian Arts Research Center collection.
Activity Level: Moderate
Includes: Entry and guide at the Hubble Trading Post; overnights at Hopi Cultural Center (HCC); visits to the Old Oraibi village, artist studios, and the Dawa Park; two lunches and a traditional Hopi meal; transportation, gratuities, and water on the bus.
Humanity’s Transition into the Atomic Age #Trinitytest
December 2-3, 2018
Cost per person:
Double Occupancy – $630 (includes a $50 tax-deductible donation to SAR)
Single Occupancy – $680 (includes a $50 tax-deductible donation to SAR)
Study Leader: Ellen Bradbury Reid
[Due to the Trinity Site’s unpredictable testing schedule, SAR will not be able to confirm the December 2-3 date until a week before the trip. Should the trip details change, all registered participants will be notified.]
July 16, 1945, was a day that changed the world forever. At 5:29 a.m. Mountain War Time, just minutes before sunrise, the night sky above central New Mexico was illuminated in a brilliant fireball of white light as the US military tested the world’s first atomic bomb. Called Trinity Site and located in a remote section of White Sands Missile Range, the first man-made atomic explosion sent a huge multi-colored cloud surging to an altitude of 40,000 feet. The resultant sloping crater at Trinity Site is mute evidence of humanity’s transition to the Atomic Age.
In this exclusive field trip, you will have a guided tour at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, then we’ll head south to Socorro. During this time of year there are great bird migrations and, since our group will spend the night in the area, we will be in time for a “fly in” at Bosque del Apache. Our visit to the Trinity Site the next day is unique because the site is open to the public only twice a year, but our group will be granted special access. There we will see Ground Zero and the restored McDonald Ranch, where the plutonium core was assembled and much of the filming of the explosion took place.
Ellen Bradbury Reid grew up in Los Alamos. She is the daughter of Edward Wilder, who worked at S-Site machining the explosive charges for the implosion detonator, which was used in the Trinity test. Her father-in-law, Norris Bradbury, ran the Trinity test and succeeded Oppenheimer as the director of Los Alamos lab. Her involvement with Los Alamos and the atomic era is extensive.
Activity Level: Easy
Includes: Overnight accommodations at Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites, dinner, breakfast and one lunch, transportation, guide, entry fees, gratuities, and water on the bus