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FFCHS Social Studies Teacher Plans to Integrate Insights from Archaeological Workshop into His Classes

Miranda Lopez

Over the summer, a number of FFC8 teachers participated in enriching learning experiences, including Fountain-Fort Carson High School Social Studies Teacher Matt Ryan.

Mr. Ryan participated in a workshop called "Project Archaeology" at the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center in Dolores, CO.  The workshop is designed to encourage Archaeology education in the classroom.

Road sign for Canyons of the ancients National Monument
Participants create a map at the Project Archaeology workshop

During the trip, Mr. Ryan learned about a plethora of Archaeological sites in Colorado and how to respect and preserve them for future generations.

He also went on a field experience to “Lowry House” which was an excavated Pueblo. The workshop hosted a professor of Archaeology from Fort Lewis College who shared information about the Lowry House site and led a discussion about the changes he sees and is calling for in the field of Archaeology.

Lowry House an excavated Pueblo

The workshop also hosted a Ute/Navajo couple who talked about their experiences and relationship to the land in the four corners region.

Mr. Ryan also got a behind-the-scenes look at the museum's archival rooms and even cataloged pot shards and baskets that had been (usually illegally) taken from sites but eventually turned over to the Bureau of Land Management. He says there were many discussions about the legality and ethics of Archaeological digs and how consulting with indigenous peoples who have ties to the area is now a requirement.

Archives of the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center
archival room at the at Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center

"I walked away with a sense of awe about how the field of Archaeology has changed in America over the last 100 years and how we all can play a role in both working to understand and preserve the rich concentration of sites in our own backyard here in the state of Colorado," said Mr. Ryan.

He plans to apply the knowledge he gained to lessons in his AP World History classes.