The following article continues our series on Crow Canyon teen camp students
who have gone on to pursue careers in archaeology or other related fields.
When Kimberly Williams was eight years old, her family took a vacation that led them through southwestern Colorado to look at archaeological sites. The trip included a backcountry tour of the Ute Mountain Tribal Park. "I fell in love with archaeology instantly and never considered a different career path from that moment on," she said. In 1990 she attended Crow Canyon's High School Field School, beginning her journey down that path. Today, Dr. Williams is an assistant professor in the department of anthropology at Temple University.
"While I was determined to be an archaeologist before I attended the High School Field School, all I knew about archaeology was popular tourist attractions and things I had read in books," she said. "I didn’t know anything about the science of archaeology. High School Field School showed me parts of what archaeologists actually do and helped me understand what a career in this field would actually look like."
During the field school, Kimberly and her fellow students excavated at Mad Dog Tower, named for the dogs that chased Crow Canyon vehicles as they drove to the site. She said the field school introduced her to the thrill of driving down a dusty back road on the way to a site.
"Driving out to a site is still absolutely exciting to me wherever I may be working," she related. "Unfortunately, fieldwork is only part of the job, but being in the field is just as exciting every day I get to do it now as it was when I was 14 and going out to Mad Dog Tower."
Kimberly also remembers the High School Field School field trips. Traveling to Arches National Park and camping in the Four Corners area were big experiences for her—teaching her self-reliance and, even today, having an effect on how she looks at the world and enjoys traveling.
Today, Kimberly describes herself as an anthropologist, a bioarchaeologist, and a skeletal biologist. In addition to her position at Temple University, she works in Nepal with children, studying growth and development of the skeleton. Her work there stems from her dissertation research examining long bone structural adaptation to the environment in archaeological populations in the Eastern Woodlands.
Kimberly is also excavating third millennium B.C. tombs in Oman, where, coincidently, she attended the same committee meeting last year as Crow Canyon Vice President of Programs Mark Varien: "The Technical Committee for the Study of Archaeological Matters in the Sultanate of Oman." The committee, which met October 27–29, was set up to develop a national archaeology program in Oman. "I saw his name on the program and walked up to Mark and introduced myself," she said.
"It was a surprise, to say the least, to run into Kim—or should I say, Dr. Williams—in Oman," Mark said. "From my viewpoint, as someone who keeps getting older, she still looked like a high school student to me. But as we visited I became more and more impressed with her professional accomplishments. Her work on bronze-age burial monuments in Oman and her work in Nepal with living populations to assess the effects of nutrition on the skeleton were fascinating. You can imagine how gratifying it was for me to hear her say that Crow Canyon was the first step on her professional journey."
Are you, or is someone you know, a high school student looking for a meaningful—and fun!—experience this summer? Check out Crow Canyon's High School Archaeology Camp. For more information, call 1.800.422.8975, ext. 146.