About a millennium ago, the ancestral Pueblo Indians in the Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico obtained their precious turquoise using a large trade network spanning several states, new research reveals.
In the new study, researchers traced Chaco Canyon turquoise artifacts back to resource areas in Colorado, Nevada and southeastern California. The results definitively show, for the first time, that the ancestral Puebloans — best known for their multistoried adobe houses — in the San Juan Basin area of New Mexico did not get all of their turquoise from a nearby mining site, as was previously believed. Read more.
For more than 40 years, archaeologists have been coaxing what they could from the traces of an ancient Puebloan settlement in New Mexico they call Blue J.
Buried under a thousand years’ worth of eroded stone and wind-blown sand, Blue J has intrigued experts with what little it has revealed: the outlines of nearly 60 households, situated around a series of open plazas, the masonry and building styles dating their construction to the 11th century.
Almost entirely unexcavated, the settlement sits just 70 kilometers south of Chaco Canyon — the nexus of Ancestral Pueblo culture — and was built during the heyday of Chaco’s widest influence. Read more.
Some of the youngest, most inquisitive New Mexico minds found what is being called one of the most significant, archaeological discoveries in a while, according to KOAT-TV.
There are 13 million acres of New Mexico Bureau of Land Management land, most of which has been scoured by scientists. But a group of Sandia Prep seventh graders found something that the trained experts didn’t. On a field trip, the students discovered a 14-by-14 inch pot.
“It was like a gray pot, with zig-zag stripes and dash patterns all the way going around it,” seventh-grader Isabel Jerome told the station. “Yeah, it was a really incredible find.”
Officials aren’t revealing the artifact until they consult nearby pueblos.
“This is very significant. We hope they appreciate that this could be a once in a life time discovery,” said Donna Hummel with the BLM.
Officials think the pot could be 900 years old.
“That’s crazy. I think we were probably some of the first people to see so that’s really cool,” seventh-grader Cole Schoepke said. (source)
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - An ancient Peruvian artifact in the form of a monkey’s head given to the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe in 1995 is heading back home.
The small gold pendant measuring 1 3/4 inches high by 2 1/4 inches wide will be “repatriated” Thursday during a ceremony at Peru’s embassy in Washington.
The small bead has been the subject of controversy amid allegations that it was looted from an archaeological site in Peru.
The Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/v3zwcj ) reports the FBI at one point seized the monkey’s head and other items, but eventually the artifacts were returned to the Santa Fe museum.
The board of regents of the museum of New Mexico, the organization that oversees all of the state museums in Santa Fe, voted recently to return the bead to Peru. (source)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The National Park Service says two University of New Mexico students allegedly inscribed their monikers “Super Duper Dana” and “Gabriel” within a few feet of a sign that reads, “It is unlawful to mark or deface El Morro Rock.”
The carvings may lead to possible criminal penalties for the students and a repair tab of nearly $30,000.
The Albuquerque Journal reports the pair appeared in U.S. District Court last week to face charges of defacing an archaeological resource on public lands during a mid-October trip to the site in western New Mexico.
They were released on their own recognizance after being required to surrender their passports and visas.
National Park Service workers discovered the new inscriptions Oct. 13 on the sandstone cliffs.
The monument is known for its 2,000 or so signatures, some dating back 700 to 1,000 years ago. (source)
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - One of Santa Fe’s earliest streets and a possible plaster pit dating from the 1600s has been discovered by archaeologists.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that New Mexico’s Office of Archaeological Studies recently found the cobbled surface near the existing Santa Fe Plaza for Drury Southwest, a hotel chain that plans to redevelop the former St. Vincent Hospital complex.
State officials say the street may have led to Santa Fe’s first parroquia, or parish church.
The street does not appear on the first known map of Santa Fe in 1766.
Amid the cobbles were bits of Pueblo Indian pottery and types of majolica pottery from Puebla, Mexico.
A 2008 excavation turned up the cobbled surface about four feet below today’s ground.
A second dig ends Thursday. (source)
FRIJOLES CANYON, N.M. (AP) - It’s been three months since visitors have been able to walk through the archaeological sites in the heart of Bandelier National Monument.
They were kept out by what grew into the largest wildlife in New Mexico’s recorded history and post-fire flooding that threated Frijoles Canyon and the monument’s visitor center.
Monday marks the first day that visitors can take shuttle buses into the canyon. The buses will run seven days a week through October. The first run of each day is scheduled for 9 a.m. The last bus out will be at 5:30 p.m.
Park officials say they’re excited for the return of visitors to Bandelier’s main area.
The visitor center in Frijoles Canyon remains surrounded by sandbags. Officials say a temporary visitor center and snack bar will be open. (source)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico’s Maxwell Museum has returned stolen archaeological artifacts to the Mexican government.
Maxwell Museum curator David Phillips tells the Albuquerque Journal that the collection of artifacts, including arrowheads, knives, and paper-making tools, pre-date the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico.
The collection was anonymously donated to the museum earlier this year.
Museum officials found that the artifacts were stolen from Mexico in violation of a 1970 international law restricting the removal of artifacts from their home nation.
Phillips says the items “represent pieces of Mexico’s prehistoric past” and that they “belong to the people of that country.” Read more.