Dr. Robert Dello Russo and Alexander Kurota Awarded U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management Grant

Departmental News

Posted:  Nov 22, 2019 - 01:00pm

Dr. Robert Dello Russo and Alexander Kurota of the UNM Office of Contract Archaeology have been awarded a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management to study the prehistory of the under-researched southeast region of New Mexico and nearby west Texas.

“A Chronometric Study of Perishable Artifacts from Caves in the Guadalupe Mountains of Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas” is spearheaded by principal investigator Dr. Dello-Russo, Ph.D., and co-PI Alexander Kurota, and includes coordination with organizations outside UNM, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture Lincoln National Forest, the University of Pennsylvania, the Western Archeological and Conservation Center, the New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center.

Dello-Russo and Kurota will head a research team to utilize existing museum collections of perishable artifacts to build a chronology of basket and sandal styles used by the people who lived in and around the caves in the Guadalupe Mountains. They will also re-document two of the rockshelter sites with new technologies, including a small unmanned aerial vehicle and photogrammetric mapping. In particular, they hope to determine dates for perishable artifacts found in the area to discover whether they are attributable to Formative era (1000 BC–500 AD) farmers, North American Archaic period hunter-gatherers (6000–500 BC), proto-historic hunter-gatherers, or perhaps all of the above.  Read more about this project here