IN THE MIDDLE OF ALBUQUERQUE THERE'S A 1,000 YEAR OLD SITE
To people passing by, the piece of land doesn’t look like much, but to archaeologists it is historic.
“What the archaeologists ended up finding were a couple of cooking pits and evidence of a campsite that had been used over a longer period of time,” said City of Albuquerque Open Space Superintendent Matt Schmader.
The city wanted to transform the area into a community park in 2015. Its plans were put on hold after crews found ancient artifacts on the site. Schmader, who is an archaeologist, and his team were called to investigate.
“The surface is scraped with mechanical equipment. You expose the tops of the fire pits and other features and then you hand excavate very carefully to get the material out,” he said. The team uncovered hundreds of broken pieces of pottery, chipped stones from making tools, a pair of fire pits and remnants of a 1,000-year-old shelter.
Experts believe the land was once used by Native Americans as a specialized food gathering and preparation area.
The findings have been excavated and are being cataloged for a future museum display. Archaeologists have given the city clearance to build a park at the site. The city plans to incorporate the land’s history into the new playground.
“I think it gives an extra value to your experience at at park when you can go there aside from enjoying the great outdoors and you know that it has a historic value and you are standing on place where people had lived and worked 1,000 years ago,” Schmader said. Schmader said the artifacts from the site will likely be on display at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe.