from artnet

A 8,200-Year-Old Campsite Was Found on a U.S. Air Force Base in New Mexico

Geomorphologists made the chance discovery while driving past a roadcut.

by Vittoria Benzine

A photograph of a man dusting off a desert archaeological site
Matthew Cuba, 49th Civil Engineer Squadron cultural resource manager, brushes off the remnants of a Paleo-Archaic hearth at Holloman Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Pedrazzini)

Two researchers have stumbled upon an 8,200-year-old campsite formerly covered by sand dunes at the Holloman Air Force Base just outside of Alamogordo, New Mexico.

While driving past the side of a roadcut, the geomorphologists from the University of Arizona noticed “an unusual rock sticking out,” a spokesperson from the base explained over email. Upon closer inspection, the duo realized the rock might be an artifact, and contacted Matthew Cuba, the 49th Civil Engineer Squadron cultural resource manager. Cuba and his team unearthed “a significant and well-preserved site” over six feet beneath the earth, according to the base’s source.

“The formation of the white sand dunes inadvertently buried the site, with windblown silt protecting the delicate archaeological remains,” Cuba remarks in this week’s release “This site marks a pivotal moment in shedding light on the area’s history and its early inhabitants.”

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