The Border Fence Project -Excavations

As a follow-up for the survey part the Border Fence Project, the Office of Contract Archeology conducted archeological excavations of 17 sites located in three areas of southwestern New Mexico. One was in the Boot Heel, the second took place within and near the Carrizalillo Hills region and the third was located near the Santa Teresa area. Radiocarbon dates obtained from thermal features indicate the sites were occupied during the Late Archaic and Formative periods. Additionally, a number of protohistoric to early historic dates obtained from the area revealed that the region was frequented also during the protohistoric, probably by Apachean or other nomadic groups. The fieldwork was performed with cooperation of Gulf South Research Corporation.

OCA archeologist Adam Lujan collects radiocarbon and flotation samples from a protohistoric agave roasting pit in the Carrizalillo Hills area.


OCA archeologist David Holtkamp writes provenience information on bags with samples from a roasting pit feature in the Carrizalillo Hills area

OCA archeologists excavate small protohistoric hearths west of Carrizalillo Hills


Small burned rocks from a deflated protohistoric hearth feature found west of the Carrizalillo Hills

OCA and GSRC archeologists excavate thermal features at an El Paso phase Jornada Mogollon residential site near Santa Teresa area in southern New Mexico.


Backhoe was used to probe for buried features inside the coppice dunes at a site near Santa Teresa.

A backhoe trench prfile showing natural stratigraphy inside a coppice dune


Ceramics including El Paso Bichrome and El Paso Polychrome were recovered during the excavations in the Santa Teresa area.