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Small Town Archaeology

June 29, 2018

A town square offers a trove of archaeological discoveries.



Small town archaeology. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Nowadays, the most exciting thing that happens in the little town of Dixon, New Mexico is the annual Artists Studio Tour. But Columbia archaeologist Sev Fowler says it wasn’t always so peaceful.

SEV FOWLER (Columbia University):

This was a very dangerous military outpost of the Spanish empire.


He and his colleauges are excavating the plaza in the center of town, including a large torreon, or defensive tower where settlers used to hide during raids by Ute and Comanche warriors. Fowler says the more they study the area, the more layers of history they uncover.


We’ve documented a major occupation of this valley in the mid 13th century, so in the mid 1200s there was a big farming community of ancestral Pueblo folks out here.


The area offers a window into 800 years of North American history– and will provide researchers many years of exploration. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

Story by Bob Hirshon