August 31, 2009

New artifacts cache found in New Mexico

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Here’s a refreshing change of pace in a story about Native American artifacts -it contains no mention of FBI raids, no tales of death and greed and criminal charges, no insinuations about the dark side of the antiquities trade.

This one involves a road crew doing excavations in advance of putting in sewer lines along a road in Santa Fe County. According to a story by Phaedra Haywood of the New Mexican, the workers re-discovered the site of an ancient village containing thousands of artifacts, including pottery shards, beads, tools and clay effigies. So what did they do? Squirrel them into “private collections?” Sell them on e-Bay? Slip them to auction houses where European collectors pay good money to own a piece of the Americas?

Nope. They marked down their locations. Archived them with the Museum of New Mexico Laboratory of Anthropology. Excavated a few for display at the Agua Fria village community center. And left the rest undisturbed for future study.  They also informed the Santa Fe County Public Works department so the work plans could be arranged to minimize further disturbances.

We’re digging that.

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