New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies

Galisteo Basin

Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Assessment Project

In its 2007 session, the New Mexico State Legislature passed the Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Assessment bill (GBASA), sponsored by Representative Kathy McCoy and others. This bill provided funds for the assessment of 24 archaeological sites identified by the federal Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act. OAS was charged with implementing GBASA, including the administration of funds and the preparation and submission of a report on the sites.

Church at San Cristobal RanchWe were gratified to receive proposals from 12 firms for a total of 59 site proposals and awarded contracts to 8 firms for 17 sites. Our selection criteria were based on personnel, familiarity with the individual site, and record of report production. OAS performed the assessment on 7 sites, administered the contracts, assembled the results, and produced the report.

The protection act relies on cooperation among a variety of landholders: private owners, the Bureau of Land Management, the Archaeological Conservancy, the State Land Office, and county government. The size of the allocation and the number of sites meant that only preliminary assessments were possible. Contractors were charged with defining the extent of each site (a more difficult task than it might seem), identifying damage and potential threats to them, and recording their condition in photographs. The BLM and Santa Fe County provided high-resolution aerial images to facilitate the definition of site boundaries. The information collected will be used to arrive at a formal plan for site protection.

Jessica Badner did the GIS work for the project, and we obtained huge image files from the BLM. We did some preliminary condition assessment work at the two pueblos—Galisteo and San Cristóbal—where with the support of the Friends of Archaeology we did considerable work.

Due to the persistence of supporters and the importance of the sites, the federal government allocated funds in 2008 to pursue the goals of the protection act. The OAS hopes to participate in the further planning for and protection of the sites.

Project Director: H. Wolcott Toll