Investigations at West Mesa Middle School

In February 2007, the Office of Contract Archeology, University of New Mexico (OCA) conducted a cultural resources inventory of approximately 89.82 acres on Albuquerque’s West Mesa at the request of Albuquerque Public Schools (APS). This parcel abuts the Petroglyph National Monument Northern Geologic Window. The OCA crew documented one new discovery (LA 155457) and redocumented five previous discoveries (LA 134637, LA 134639, LA 134640, LA 134641 and LA 134645). These sites include two ancestral Pueblo agricultural sites, two lithic scatters (one probably Archaic), one temporally unknown structure, and a large complex of petroglyph panels with grinding slicks. We also identified 11 Isolated Occurrences (IO) during the survey.


OCA conducted excavations of one site (LA 134645) between May 7 and May 18, 2007.  The archeologists identified a wide range of features and landscape modifications for increasing the productive yield at this site.  These modifications included construction of a berm and a ditch to redirect water flow, a small field outlined by an intermittent rock border, a diversion dam, and multiple ambiguous rock concentrations.  Our findings indicate the Puebloan agriculturalists likely planted in drainages with low energy flow, and modified the moderate energy flow drainage to reduce the energy of the flow and redirect the runoff into fields.  This site represents one of the first agricultural field sites excavated on the West Mesa.

Robin M. Cordero        Richard C. Chapman
Project Director           Principal Investigator

Field crew excavating a rock concentration

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