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Archaeo News 

9 April 2011
Remnants of nomadic society uncovered in New Mexico

An archaeology team has uncovered north of Deming (New Mexico, USA) a number of tools and a structure believed to have been used by an ancient nomadic hunter/gatherer society. "For thousands of years, our ancestors, the ancestors of this area, subsisted this way," Steve Lentz, project director, said. "These were like base camps, very rudimentary sort of camps where they built fires," he added. He described the site, which sits on just more than three acres, as "very ephemeral, very subtle" and hard to locate.
     The unidentified groups roamed this area of the country well before the Mimbres Indians, he said, who lived in the Mimbres Valley about a thousand years ago. "We don't know enough about them," he added. According to research on the ancient people, they would travel in small groups of 11 to 25 people. Dr. Robert Dello-Russo, deputy director of the Office of Archaeological Studies for the museum, said larger groups might have been unstable or difficult to sustain. "They might have had some limited agriculture, but they were basically processing all plants, like mesquite pods and agave and prickly pear fruit and various other seeds and grasses," Lentz added.
     Typically, the groups would make camp, look for food, start fires and cook whatever provisions they might have had or found during their treks. A common method of cooking, he said, would be to heat rocks and use the hot stones to boil water. Evidence of that cooking method was found throughout the area in shards of rock that had broken apart from high heat.
     The Santa Fe-based group plans to work in the area for another three weeks, then return to their labs to perform additional tests and research.

Edited from Las Cruces Sun-News (7 April 2011)

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