Research & Collections » Archaeology Collections

Archaeological Research Collections

Due to our Collections Move, the Archaeological Research Collection are currently open on a limited basis. To request access to the collections please follow the link for more info »

The Archaeological Collections constitute the museum’s largest collection, and are an important part of New Mexico’s cultural heritage. Representing the largest assemblage of archaeological materials in New Mexico, the Repository contains about 8 million artifacts and samples cataloged as bulk collections and approximately 35,000 individually cataloged artifacts, along with more than 250 linear ft. of accompanying notes, maps, and photos. Although some materials were collected from archaeological sites by Edgar Hewett during the early 1900s, or from WPA projects during the 1930s, most of the collection has been assembled through Cultural Resource Management (CRM) investigations conducted since 1954, and includes both prehistoric and historic Native American materials as well as historic Euro-American artifacts recovered from Spanish Colonial settlements through early 20th century Anglo homesteads.

The Museum acts as the Repository for the State of New Mexico, curating archaeological materials from State lands, and accepts donations of artifacts from private land in New Mexico, as well. In addition, the Museum cares for archaeological materials from Federal and tribal lands within New Mexico, which are held by the Museum as long-term loans. Curation agreements may be obtained from the Curator of Archaeological Research Collections, Julia Clifton, 476-1268, email at  julia.clifton@state.nm.us. The Procedures Manual for Submission of Archaeological Artifact and Record Collections details the standards that must be met when submitting archaeological collections to the Museum for curation. The Manual includes a current curation fee schedule.

If you are planning to deposit collections in the Repository, please contact the Archaeological Research Collections Manager, Rachel Johnson, 476-1266, email at rachel.johnson@state.nm.us  to schedule a drop-off.

Collection access is available on a limited basis to researchers by appointment only, 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. To arrange a visit, please follow the access procedures. For questions or to follow up on your requested appointment please contact the Curator of Archaeological Research Collections.

Comparative collections of ceramics, lithics, mineral specimens, and petrographic slides are maintained in the H.P. Mera Room. To make an appointment to examine the Mera Room study collections, contact Dody Fugate, Assistant Curator, 476-1267, email at dody.fugate@state.nm.us.

Loans of materials for research can be made to qualified institutions and Requests for Scientific Testing of archaeological specimens are considered by the Museum’s Collections Committee at twice-monthly meetings. Requests to photograph objects in collections for research use only are considered on a case-by-case basis.