Office of Archaeological Studies
The mission of the Office of Archaeological Studies is to identify, interpret and share information about prehistoric and historic sites throughout New Mexico. A not-for-profit enterprise program based at the state-of-the-art Center for New Mexico Archaeology (CNMA), the institution conducts archaeological research for public and private clients statewide. It also offers ethnographic and historical research expertise and services from five laboratories, including its archaeomagnetic dating laboratory, one of two full-time laboratories in the United States dedicated to this specialized technique.
Established in 1990 to build on the contract archaeology program developed by the Museum of New Mexico’s Laboratory of Anthropology in the 1950s, today’s Office of Archaeological Studies operates largely on private support. Its research and education programs have distinguished the organization as an innovator in preserving and furthering the state’s pioneering archaeological tradition. Its educational partnerships with Native American and other descendant communities have been honored with many awards for outstanding achievement in sharing archaeological knowledge.
Since 1995, the Office of Archaeological Studies has coordinated an award-winning education program designed to share New Mexico’s extraordinary cultural heritage with the public. Through lectures and hands-on demonstrations, archaeologists provide students, teachers and others from New Mexico and beyond the opportunity to directly experience the thrill of archaeology and to gain a better understanding of ancient and historic lifeways. Work with Native American communities has provided a forum for the resurgence of lost technologies, including pottery, stone tools and yucca textiles.
Today, the organization’s education program reaches thousands of youth and adults each year, including outreach in each of New Mexico’s 33 counties. In 2005 and 2012, the Society for American Archaeology lauded the program as a national model with the Society’s Award for Excellence in Public Education.