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Climate Change Challenges at Bandelier National Monument: Adapting Conservation and Monitoring Responses for Cultural Sites in the Desert Southwest

Author(s): Rachel Adler ; Barbara Judy ; Sarah Stokely ; Rory Gauthier

Year: 2016

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Summary

The Ancestral Puebloan sites at Bandelier National Monument include both masonry pueblos and man-made cave sites. The dry climate of Northern New Mexico in conjunction with the environmental awareness and architectural ingenuity of the builders have played an important role in the preservation of these sites, which continue to yield valuable archaeological information. Changes in the semi-arid climate in which the monument is located have begun to threaten the equilibrium between these archaeological sites and their setting. Large-scale wildfires exacerbated by regional drying trends, and a lengthened monsoon season characterized by an increase in storm severity, are examples of circumstances potentially tied to climate change that call for a new approach to site preservation. This paper looks at how cultural resources programs at Bandelier managed two groups of sites in response to the effects of climate change. One group has undergone several years of documentation, as well as treatment to protect it from erosion effects of a major wildfire that took place in 2011. The other group is the subject of a proposed monitoring program to determine if natural environmental processes, visitor access, climate change, or a combination of these are contributing to the deterioration of these resources.


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Climate Change Challenges at Bandelier National Monument: Adapting Conservation and Monitoring Responses for Cultural Sites in the Desert Southwest. Rachel Adler, Barbara Judy, Sarah Stokely, Rory Gauthier. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403135)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America