New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies

Pamela J. McBride, Director, Ethnobotany Laboratory

Pamela J. McBride
OAS Research Associate and former Director, OAS Ethnobotany Laboratory

B.S., Anthropology, University of New Mexico, 1990 Pamela J. McBride

I was lucky enough to begin working at OAS on the Gallo Mountain project, near Quemado, New Mexico, that had some of the best preservation of any site excavated in the Southwest. Pots full of seeds or corn kernels were still in place on the floor of the pit structure next to grinding stones. The opportunity to accurately reconstruct activity areas as we were able to do there does not come along very often. This was the start of a rewarding journey in which I've sorted through hundreds of samples dating from the Archaic period into the historic looking for remnants of cultivated and wild plants used by inhabitants of our arid land.

Other highlights of my career at OAS besides the Gallo Mountain project include the NM 22 project in the northern Santa Domingo Basin, the Judical Complex, the Capitol Parking Complex, and the El Pueblo de Santa Fe (LA 1051) projects in downtown Santa Fe, the U.S. 84/285 project in the Tewa Basin, LA 3333 in the Galisteo Basin, the Highway 128 project near Carlsbad, and the Spaceport America project near Truth or Consequences.

I am interested in documenting specific plant species that show up in the archaeological record and investigating how the modern distribution of these species compares to that of the past. I enjoy giving talks about our discoveries as well as helping to pass on the knowledge of native plant use to others. I consider the work of preserving habitats for our native plant species that provide food, cover, and other necessities for pollinators that are so essential for the continued survival of humans to be one of our greatest challenges and one of our greatest rewards.