Military Personnel And Geologists In Southern New Mexico Uncovered An 8,200-Year-Old Prehistoric Campsite On A U.S. Military Base

Nathaniel Gonzales - - illustrative purposes only

On a United States military base in southern New Mexico, a prehistoric campsite dating back 8,200 years ago was uncovered. It belonged to some of the earliest American settlers.

The discovery was made at the Holloman Air Force Base by a team of military personnel and geologists.

The military base was established in 1942 and houses the 49th Wing of the Air Education and Training Command. The base is located in the Tularosa Basin, which is known for its brilliant white sand dunes.

The sand dunes formed at least 1,000 years after the campsite was made and may have helped preserve its remains.

“The formation of the white sand dunes inadvertently buried the site, with windblown silt protecting the delicate archaeological remains,” said Matthew Cuba, the cultural resource manager for the 49th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES). “This site marks a pivotal moment in shedding light on the area’s history and its early inhabitants.”

Evidence of the campsite was found near a road about six feet below the surface. The site was named Gomolak Overlook, and it yielded several artifacts that shed light on the lives of the prehistoric people who occupied the area.

The artifacts indicated that the early Paleo-Archaic people used the site as a seasonal encampment.

Among the remains, there were signs that early settlers burned mesquite for their fires. Mesquite is a type of spiny shrub with extremely long roots that stretch deep underground to seek water. It is native to dry regions in the southwest U.S. and Mexico.

“Found on the site were approximately 70 items, ranging from flake stones to a rare example of an early ground stone, providing valuable clues about past human activities,” Cuba said. “We also uncovered a series of hearths, or community campsites, with remnants of mesquite charcoal, which is a tremendous find in and of itself.”

Nathaniel Gonzales – – illustrative purposes only

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