Center for Desert Archaeology and Archaeological Conservancy Partner to Protect Ancestral Puebloan Site in New Mexico
December 4, 2009
The Center for Desert Archaeology and The Archaeological Conservancy recently completed a conservation easement comprising more than 160 acres in Cibola County, New Mexico. The easement includes a large portion of the Spier 142 site, one of the largest Pueblo III-period communities in the El Morro Valley.
The site, which dates between A.D. 1240 and 1325, includes 165 masonry rooms in an E-shaped architectural arrangement, 195 additional rooms in smaller architectural units, and a possible great kiva. Beginning in the mid-thirteenth century, the region experienced population growth along the Zuni River and its tributaries. Evidence from Spier 142 is important for understanding these changes in settlement patterns, and specifically the transition from smaller, more dispersed settlements to large pueblos.
The Archaeological Conservancy worked with a private landowner who sold the property to them for less than market value (a “bargain sale”). The landowner sought a state tax credit for the bargain sale amount. The placement of a conservation easement on the property enabled the landowner to earn a Conservation Tax Credit through a special New Mexico program. The Center for Desert Archaeology now holds the conservation easement. The Archaeological Conservancy has generously contributed to the Center’s Site Protection Fund in order to support long-term monitoring costs.
More information about archaeological conservation easements is available here.