Susan Ryan, an Earthwatch archaeologist at Crow Canyon in Colorado, has conducted prehistoric and historic excavations throughout the American Midwest and Southwest.
Why study the Basketmakers of Colorado?
“I came out to the Southwest when my aunt and uncle relocated from Chicago to Albuquerque when I was a teenager, and was really lucky enough to see living pueblos like Akima and Zuni,” Dr. Ryan told Earthwatch. “They took me to archaeological sites, and I really fell in love with the Southwest. I realized that modern pueblo people are still here, and archaeology is incredible, and it’s really what I wanted to do. So I relocated to the Southwest in 1998 and have been in the Southwest in different states ever since, working on archaeology projects.”
A great moment in the field:
“It’s different every single day,” she says. “You never know what’s going to come up when you’re excavating an archaeological site, and for me the thing that keeps me on the edge of my seat each night is wondering what tomorrow is going to bring. So for me it’s that perpetual excitement of uncovering the past and getting more and more clues as to what was going on in a particular place at a particular time.”