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.