Pre-historic/Archeological Resources

PetroglyphsSee Report: Cultural Resources Overview Desert Peaks Complex, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, July 18, 2017.

Within the Organ Mountains, archaeological sites include the La Cueva rock shelter, which was professionally excavated in the 1970’s. This excavation provided a significant number of artifacts and data on prehistoric cultures that have inhabited the cave, some as long ago as 7,000 years. The Peña Blanca rock shelters were professionally excavated in the 1980’s and contained what were determined to be the earliest known cultivated corn in the US.

Archaeological and historic resources are also rich in the Sierra de las Uvas Mountains Complex. At least 20 historic and prehistoric sites are known to occur within or adjacent to the Robledo Mountains WSA, including some of the earliest known prehistoric habitation sites in southern New Mexico. Also included are several undisturbed pothouse villages, two Lithic Indian sites in Horse Canyon, and at least two excellent petroglyph sites in the Sierra de las Uvas. More prehistoric sites likely exist, but no comprehensive survey has taken place.

Evidence of pre-Columbian Indian habitation exists in caves in the East Potrillo Mountains. A Classic Mimbres Pueblo located in the region has the highest concentration of bird bones of any known Mimbres site. Several undisturbed El Paso Phase structures have also been found in the West Potrillo Mountains.

For more information, also see the 2013 Archeological – Historical Report of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Monument.