Peña Blanca 2016 - Passport in Time

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New Mexico - BLM Las Cruces FO
Closed! Peña Blanca Area Survey

Wsa_photos_.Par.71016.Image.-1.-1.1 by BLM Las Cruces FO
Peña Blanca Wilderness Study Area

September 26-30, 2016

Must commit to entire session

Join us this fall in the ruggedly beautiful Peña Blanca Area of south-central New Mexico, and hike with us into the state’s prehistoric past! This area is home to numerous important archaeological sites, the most well-known of which are the Peña Blanca rockshelters. Glyphs and artifacts recovered from the rockshelters have suggested a surprisingly deep antiquity for the case of human occupation and land usage. In fact, maize (corn) cobs found at the Tornillo (‘tor-nee-yo’) Rockshelter were, for a period of time, thought to be the oldest in North America, at ca. 4,000 years B.P. (~2,000 B.C.). However, it is somewhat shocking that when the rockshelters were last investigated in the early 1990s, none of the surrounding 4,780 acres of the site area were further examined! The Peña Blanca Area Survey is part of the effort to remedy that situation, and we need your help!

During this PIT project, volunteers and BLM staff will perform “pedestrian reconnaissance” in select portions of the Peña Blanca area to locate (or, in certain instances, relocate), map, and document archaeological sites and features, using up-to-date archaeological survey methods, photography, sketching, GPS, and current site recording forms. Volunteers will learn (or hone) proper survey and artifact identification skills while passing through areas of fantastic natural rock structures and narrative stratigraphy, taking in iconic Southwestern vistas, and walking into the depths of human history in this area. The region is untamed and can be somewhat unforgiving, so come prepared for heat, cold, wind, and other things Mother Nature may throw at us, but come prepared to learn a great deal, see things you may never have seen, and to have a lot of fun – we hope to see you in September!

Number of openings: 10

Special skills: Volunteers must be physically capable of hiking moderate distances over often difficult terrain each day, and in a variety of climatic conditions; previous archaeological survey, mapping, artifact identification (especially early- to mid-Archaic), sketching, and/or photography experience helpful, but not required

Minimum age: 12 years old, under 18 with a responsible adult

Facilities: This will be a primitive, tent camping situation, and “leave no trace” (i.e., “pack it in, pack it out”) is the name of the game; no toilet/bath facilities; the BLM will provide sufficient water for drinking and washing; we may* have space for a single RV camper; no hook-ups; project is in a relatively remote area (difficult roads) so high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended
(*If selected, please inquire at the time of project leader contact)

Nearest towns: Mesquite, 8.5 miles; Las Cruces, 17.5 miles; El Paso, TX, 30 miles

Applications due: Filled

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