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Here and Gone

December 5, 2011

Just a couple snaps from an unknown New Mexico ruin: it’s always fairly mind-blowing to look at empty, dessicated landscapes in the southwest and know that civilization once was here. This ruin doesn’t look like much. It’s never been thoroughly excavated, only a few test spots have been dug, one of which revealed the walls of the room above. But this was a big one, two stories and something like 250 rooms, with numerous kivas. It’s further south than you might expect, a little outside the area most people think of when contemplating Pueblo archeology. It’s also thought that it was inhabited until a while after the Spanish entrada.

Over-publicizing locations is often a potential moral dilemma in landscape photography, and much more so when archeology is involved. I know of this site only due to local contacts, including the designated caretakers. But though it’s almost completely unknown, it’s also distressingly accessible. I’ve therefore chosen to pass on posting the more dramatic angles on the site, because they contain features that would allow someone sufficiently familiar with New Mexico geography (like a pot hunter) to get a pretty good idea of the location. But I think someone would have to nearly psychic to identify the juniper hills (New Mexico’s landscape default setting) in the background above. And it might even look pretty good if I can make it back in decent light!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2011 12:14 pm

    Wow, this is a fantastic find. I can certainly understand the dilemma you face in whether or not to disclose locations of archaeological sites in particular. While most of the locations I have on my website are more well-known, I’ve still chosen to not say a whole lot about them, but rather to let the images speak for themselves.

    I’m chuckling at your version of NM camouflage. :)

    -Greg

  2. December 12, 2011 4:00 pm

    I have been thinking about blogging it too– MOST of my shots are not too identifiable, but may send to you for opinion…

    I do have N holding up a bigger piece of a pot!

  3. May 21, 2012 9:52 pm

    “History is a guide to life in perilous times. History is who we are, and why we are the way we are.” – David McCulough

    I am the archaeologist responsible for managing this site. I think it insane to hide them from the public as my predecessors have done. I encourage visitors to the national forest to visit historic properties and explore them…and appreciate their grandeur. Explore and appreciate, but please don’t steal and depreciate.

    - District Archaeologist

    • May 22, 2012 10:12 am

      Good to meet you the other day Matt! I have somewhat mixed feelings, but I’m inclined to agree with you that in this day and age education and appreciation are probably better protections than secrecy, especially among locals in the area.

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