Protecting Places on the Land: Mimbres Valley
In 2011, Archaeology Southwest significantly expanded its Site Protection portfolio with the addition of three sites in the legendary Mimbres Valley of New Mexico: Mattocks, Janss, and Wheaton-Smith. Protected by the nonprofit Mimbres Foundation since the 1970s, these sites are now under the care and protection of Archaeology Southwest.
The Janss site is an important post-Mimbres, Salado period site, and the Wheaton-Smith site is a small Classic period pueblo. The latter also has a historic homestead built from the cobbles of the prehistoric room block. Janss and Wheaton-Smith are now owned outright by Archaeology Southwest.
The Mattocks site is a large Classic Mimbres pueblo. It is owned by the Imogene Wilson Education Foundation, which manages the property as the Mimbres Cultural Heritage Site. Archaeology Southwest holds an archaeological easement on the site, which means that we are responsible for ensuring that no damage occurs on the site. Archaeology Southwest will also oversee and manage any future archaeological excavations on that property. As a complement to the Mimbres Foundation property, we were also able to acquire an archaeological conservation easement from the adjoining landowner. This enables us to protect the remaining largest unexcavated portion of the pueblo.
There are few sites left in the Mimbres Valley that have not been destroyed or significantly impacted by a century of looting and excavation. The Mimbres Foundation’s efforts halted the worst of this destruction and protected what sites were left. Their early leadership in site protection efforts has long inspired us, and we are honored that they asked Archaeology Southwest to assume responsibility for protecting these important places.