• December 5, 2019

Research team to take fresh look at delicate artifacts - Odessa American: Lifestyle

e-Edition Subscribe

Research team to take fresh look at delicate artifacts

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, December 2, 2019 5:10 pm | Updated: 5:43 pm, Mon Dec 2, 2019.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Sandals and baskets that have withstood the ravages of time will be among the perishable artifacts analyzed by a team of scientists looking to learn more about a corner of the southwestern United States that was first excavated decades ago.

Depending on what they uncover, officials are hopeful that the $200,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will lead to more research opportunities in the Guadalupe Mountains, which straddle the New Mexico-Texas line and are situated within one of the nation’s busiest oil and gas basins.

The University of New Mexico is partnering with the Lincoln National Forest, the University of Pennsylvania, the Western Archaeological and Conservation Center, the New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Guadalupe Mountains National Park and the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center.

The team plans to use existing museum collections to build a time line of basket and sandal styles used by those who once inhabited the area. They also will take a new look at two rock shelter sites using new technologies, including a drone and photogrammetric mapping.

The project is spearheaded by Robert Dello-Russo and Alexander Kurota of the University of New Mexico’s Office of Contract Archaeology.

“This study will ensure meaningful consultation with, and self-determination for, the Native American tribes who claim ancestry with the Guadalupe Mountain region,” Dello-Russo said in a statement.

No ceremonial artifacts will be subjected to any kind of analysis as part of the project, officials said.

The Guadalupe Mountains still represent an important spiritual sanctuary for the Mescalero Apache, a once nomadic Native American tribe now based in south-central New Mexico.

The Mescalero Apache harvested plants such as agave, sotol and bear grass. The agave’s fibers were used for ropes, blankets and sandals.

According to the Bureau of Land Management, excavations of Burnet’s Cave and Hermit’s Cave during the 1930s uncovered artifacts made of fiber, wood and feathers. They included sandals, baskets, ropes, fiber bundles and grass rings that are now part of museum collections.

Officials say most of the artifacts have not been examined since their excavation some 80 years ago, before the development of radiocarbon dating. The new analysis will allow the artifacts to be placed into more precise time periods.

The research will determine whether the perishable artifacts can be linked to farmers of the Formative era, which dates from 1000 BC to 500 A.D., or to hunter-gatherer communities stretching back thousands of years.

The researchers say the preservation of such perishable items is of utmost importance as they can provide invaluable knowledge about the daily lives of those who lived on the land long ago.

They’re hoping to answer questions about what native plants were used and whether certain weaving or construction techniques were favored at certain times.

Elsewhere across the Permian Basin, contracts have been awarded for other archaeological work, including surveys and limited excavation at 36 sites located in Salado Draw in southeastern New Mexico.

Officials say a number of prehistoric sites were found there — all discovered while surveying for oil and gas wells or pipelines. They believe human activity in the draw dates as far back as 12,000 B.C.

That work will include looking at pollen and charred plant materials found in hearths or roasting pits.

© 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Clear
59°
Humidity: 45%
Winds: WNW at 11mph
Feels Like: 57°

Your Extended Forecast

Tomorrow

weather
High 75°/Low 40°
Clear. Lows overnight in the low 40s.

friday

weather
High 61°/Low 36°
More sun than clouds. Highs in the low 60s and lows in the mid 30s.

saturday

weather
High 66°/Low 44°
More sun than clouds. Highs in the mid 60s and lows in the mid 40s.
Online Features

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7314 to sign up today.