As archaeologists, our work has just begun after a site is excavated. The cultural materials found at that site, including chipped and ground stone, pottery, plant remains such as seeds and pollen, animal and human bone, and historic artifacts have to be washed, counted, measured, examined, described, categorized, tabulated, and subjected to various kinds of statistical analysis—all before the work of interpreting those results begins. The detailed information gathered by analysts in each of our six laboratories leads to a more comprehensive view of the past.
Archaeomagnetic Dating Laboratory
Archaeomagnetic dating is based on comparing the magnetic properties of burned archaeological deposits with calibration curves for the region of the earth’s surface that includes the site.
Chipped Stone Artifact Analysis
OAS chipped stone analysis employs a variety of mandatory and optional attributes that can be used to characterize an assemblage and help answer questions concerning residential mobility, ties to other regions, and how site occupants approached the process of making formal and informal tools out of stone.
The Ethnobotanical Laboratory processes soil samples from all OAS excavations, as well as contracting with other agencies and individuals.
The OAS conducts archaeological investigations on historic resources throughout New Mexico.
Animal bones can provide a wealth of information on how past populations lived and adapted to local and regional resources and conditions. While it is important to know which animals were utilized, much more can be learned from the more detailed information routinely recorded by the OAS analyses.
The ceramics lab analyzes pottery recovered from all OAS projects and conducts contractual studies for other agencies.