Laboratory of Human Osteology
Maxwell Museum of Anthropology
MSC01 1050
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131-0001
(505) 277-3535


The Prehistoric Native American Collections

The Maxwell Museum’s Laboratory of Human Osteology houses a large number of skeletal remains from prehistoric Native American sites in New Mexico and surrounding regions. Many of these remains are stored at the Maxwell on behalf of the Museum of New Mexico. The majority of the remaining individuals were excavated by University of New Mexico archaeologists, physical anthropologists, and/or field school personnel prior to 1960. Archaeological collections include both prehistoric and historic components.

All of our prehistoric Native American remains have been registered per NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) legislation. The Laboratory of Human Osteology is in compliance with NAGPRA and to date, we have completed several repatriations for Native American groups in New Mexico. The Prehistoric Collections are kept in the laboratory repository, which is protected by a locked door and an alarm system. Remains are always treated with the utmost respect and care, and kept in archival boxes. Photography of prehistoric remains is not permitted under any circumstances.

Persons interested in using the prehistoric remains for research can obtain information by submitting a research inquiry. To conduct research on the collection, you must first obtain permission from the Curator of Human Osteology and the Director of Research, and submit a request following the research request format. If you are interested in more information, please contact the Laboratory of Human Osteology.