1974-1975: Flagstaff, AZ
Venner earned a Master's Degree in Anthropology (Archaeology) from California State University, Sacramento. He did his graduate field work at a site just outside Flagstaff, AZ. Here, in two seasons, Venner excavated a Sinagua site dating in the 11th and 12th centuries A.D.
Site - NA 10937
The Sinagua site consisted of a collection of pit houses, stone-walled homes, and other outbuildings; probably supporting a village of around 50 to 75 people. The site was covered with broken pottery and other debris created by humans living in the same place for several generations. A number of dead were also uncovered; some as extended burials while others were cremations. These burials suggested more than one group of people occupied the settlement.
The entirety of Venner's time during the first season was spent on site. He, along with the other archaeological workers, were housed in one of Northern Arizona University's dorms. They ate in the dorm's cafeteria and slept in comfortable dorm rooms.
Tom's second season was quite different; he worked on the site a couple weeks before being assigned to the Museum of Northern Arizona as an Archaeological intern. He worked with one of the Museums' archaeologists; Dr. Peter Pilles. Venner also was MNA's director, Barton Wright's assistant when he traveled out onto the Navajo reservation to collect indigenous artwork for Flagstaff's famous July Pow-wow. Tom ended up supporting a Hopi potterer, Garnet Pavatea during the week-long festival.