Restoration of Sandia Cave, NHL, New Mexico

Author(s): Sandra Arazi-Coambs; Carrin Rich

Year: 2017


Sandia Cave is a National Historic Landmark that has played an important role in the history of archaeological thought about the Paleoindian period and Southwestern archaeology. The cave is also a designated traditional cultural property that is culturally significant to numerous Pueblo groups. Despite its cultural and historical significance and popularity as a tourist destination, the integrity of the cave has been severely diminished by heavy and repeated acts of vandalism over the years. It was severely blackened with soot from fires illegally lit in its interior and extensive graffiti was spray-painted inside the cave. The graffiti was thought to potentially obscure valuable information (historic and pre-contact markings) located on the rock surface. In 2015, a grant funded restoration work in the interior of the cave. A collaborative team of cave specialists and archaeologists (with input from tribal governments) developed a series of innovative restoration techniques to ensure that the natural and cultural significance of the site was maintained during the restoration process. This presentation will discuss the techniques that were developed and the success of the project as a way of deterring future vandalism at the site.

Cite this Record

Restoration of Sandia Cave, NHL, New Mexico. Sandra Arazi-Coambs, Carrin Rich. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431254)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15431