CHACO CANYON – Greg Tarin traveled the world during his five years in the U.S. Navy, but a current stint excavating in Chaco Canyon with his University of New Mexico classmates might be just as thrilling.
Tarin, a Los Lunas native, is one of about 15 students living in the Chaco Culture National Historical Park for an archeology summer field class offered by UNM’s Department of Anthropology.
The students will live in a campground through the end of June, digging up an old trading post and what is believed to have been the homestead of explorer Richard Wetherill. Wetherill, a controversial figure because he explored and excavated without being formally trained in archeology, settled in Chaco in the late 1800s, where he built a home and trading post. He was influential in making Chaco Canyon a national monument, which happened in 1907 under President Theodore Roosevelt. Wetherill was murdered in the Chaco in 1910.
Standing just feet from where ground-penetrating radar detected what the students and their professor, Chip Wills, believe was Wetherill’s home, Tarin said living and working in the canyon has given him the real-world experience he needs to find a job once he graduates this year.