New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies

History of the Office of Archaeological Studies

Established in 1990, the Office of Archaeological Studies developed out of the contract archaeology program created at the Laboratory of Anthropology, Museum of New Mexico, in the early 1950s. The Laboratory of Anthropology and the New Mexico Department of Transportation formed the nation’s first highway salvage archaeology program in 1954. OAS continues to fulfill the Museum of New Mexico’s commitment to the highway archaeology program and has expanded to include a diverse client base.

Fieldwork near Corona - 1950 Since 1952 OAS archaeologists have conducted over 600 archaeological projects and produced almost 1,000 reports. We have worked throughout New Mexico, adjacent states, and northern Mexico, and reports are available on projects in all areas. In 1995 OAS established its educational outreach program. Supported by a mixture of private funds, grants, and state funds, the program has reached over 60,000 people since its inception.

In 2004 the Office of Archaeological Studies, on behalf of the Museum of New Mexico, was given a State of New Mexico Heritage Preservation Award in recognition of “50 years of outstanding collaborative efforts with the New Mexico Department of Transportation in the protection and preservation of New Mexico’s cultural resources.”

In 2005 the Society for American Archaeology gave its Award for Excellence in Public Education to the Office of Archaeological Studies. The award is given to individuals and institutions for outstanding achievements in the sharing of archaeological knowledge. Other institutional recipients have been the Smithsonian Institution and the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.