New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies

Historical Analysis

For the last 30 years, the OAS has conducted archaeological investigations on historic resources throughout New Mexico. During this period, the recovery and analysis of Euroamerican artifacts has been integral to site interpretation. These artifacts, which span the historic era from AD 1540 to the mid-twentieth century, include objects as varied as gunflints, metallurgical slag, silver reales, devotional medals, and majolica serving vessels from colonial contexts; firearms, insignia, whiskey bottles, and farrier items from US military proviences; kitchenware, farming tools, children's toys, and harmonicas from nineteenth- and twentieth-century homesteads; industrial machinery, batteries, and construction debris from railyard settings; and funerary objects associated with human burials. Using analytic methods first proposed by Stanley South, archaeologists try to establish artifact function and date of manufacture, and address more complex issues such as economic-scaling and consumption patterns over time and across ethnic boundaries. Historic bottles from Las Vegas, New Mexico

Recent work at the OAS Historical Analysis Laboratory has focused on artifacts recovered during three major projects in the downtown Santa Fe area: the New Mexico History Museum, the Santa Fe Railyard, and the Santa Fe Civic Center. Our findings from these projects tell a compelling story about the history of Santa Fe and the people who have occupied it over the centuries. Feel free to contact us if you have questions pertaining to Euroamerican artifacts or archaeological work performed by this lab.