Office of Archaeological Studies

Celebrate World Archaeology Day on October 15th at the Center for New Mexico Archaeology

September 28, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—September 28, 2016 (Santa Fe, NM): A celebration of World Archaeology Day will be held at the Center for New Mexico Archaeology, 7 Old Cochiti Road in Santa Fe, on Saturday, October 15.  Please join the staff of The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology and the Office of Archaeological Studies for the annual celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event celebrates 12,000 years of cultural heritage of the State of New Mexico.

Guests may tour the working archaeological laboratories of the Office of Archaeological Studies, meet with professional archaeologists, and see demonstrations of pottery firing and coiled basketry making. Take a try at throwing an atlatl - an ancient hunting spear - and shooting a bow and arrow while you learn about archaeology and the history of the people of New Mexico. Guests may also tour New Mexico’s archaeological repository, which is one of the largest collections research facilities in the American Southwest. Ceramic vessels, stone tools, basketry and other objects will be on display for the public to view, along with materials that explain how people made and used these items in the past.

The theme of this year’s celebration is maize (corn), with the opening of the exhibit "The Miracle of Maize: A Catalyst for Change in the American Southwest" in the Center’s lobby, and an accompanying film, "She Brings Life: Maize, a Sacred Sustenance."  Maize, more than any other food, has great cultural significance in the American Southwest -- it led thousands of Native Americans to congregate in large villages in the past, providing a stable crop that led to an overall increase in population, and has become a source of cultural identity and veneration for many Native Americans. Today it is still at the heart of many Native diets. Beyond that, it has spread to all continents, dominating cuisine in many parts of the world. Maize could play a significant role in sustaining world populations in the future, all stemming from the ingenuity of Native Americans’ ancestors, who recognized the potential of maize’s small, grass-like ancestor, thousands of years ago.

The exhibit discusses the early development of maize, illustrating farming techniques Native Americans developed to deal with the Southwest’s arid climate, as well as other technologies developed over thousands of years.  Examples of items that illustrate the integration of maize into objects of daily life, such as pottery that exhibits motifs of the maize plant, are also included. Native people painted images of maize on vessels for thousands of years, as well as images of water and the flute player, all connected to rain, fertility and a successful harvest.

Look for maize-related activities, including making cornhusk dolls and painting images of corn on pendants. Enjoy maize treats and share your favorite recipes.The event is free and is family-friendly with hands-on activities for all ages. The Center for New Mexico Archaeology is located at 7 Old Cochiti Road off Caja del Rio Road and the 599 Bypass in Santa Fe. It is just south of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and the Santa Fe Municipal Sports Recreation Complex. (Some GPS systems do not work in this area.) 

The Center for New Mexico Archaeology (CNMA) is a central facility for archaeological research, curation, and education in the state of New Mexico. The CNMA has created a safe and secure curation environment for New Mexico’s unique and irreplaceable archaeological heritage, including nearly 10 million artifacts from all the time periods and cultures. MIAC’s Archaeological Research Collection (ARC) is actively used for research and education. Growth (300-600 cubic feet per year) matches the pace of economic development in the state. Almost 50 percent of the collections are from federal or tribal lands, and the collections are managed by ARC on behalf of the client agencies. The CNMA also houses the offices and labs of the OAS, which has provided not-for-profit cultural preservation services to state, federal, municipal, and private clients since 1952. The CNMA’s highly qualified staff provides a full range of archaeological services.

Ancestral Native American artifacts constitute the majority of the ARC collections. In the past these materials have been stored under substandard conditions with inadequate consultation and visitation facilities. It is now possible to move significant archaeological materials from the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture to CNMA, decreasing tribal concerns over visiting and participating in MIAC programs. ARC collections remain accessible to Indian religious leaders and artists who use the collections for the maintenance of cultural beliefs and practices. For more information visit:

Media contact:  Jennifer Padilla 505-577-1347

Related Photos

Decorated pots and bowl

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