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Laser Removal of Graffiti from Pictographs at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site, El Paso County, Texas: A Five-Year Review

Author(s): Tim Roberts

Year: 2017

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Summary

In 2009, a three phase project was initiated at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site to remove graffiti that was painted over Native American pictographs, using portable lasers. The first phase of this project tested the ability of a laser to remove graffiti from an area of rock that did not contain pictographs; this test showed that a laser could be used to remove layers of graffiti from the igneous formations at the site. In 2010, samples of graffiti paint that was not directly on the pictographs to be treated were taken and subjected to multiple laboratory tests to identify their composition. Non-invasive techniques, including X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), Raman Spectroscopy, and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), were used in the field to identify the composition of the pictographs themselves. These tests were also used to help identify the mineral content of the underlying rock. The resulting information was beneficial in calibrating, and testing, the lasers to distinguish rock imagery from graffiti. In 2011, lasers were used for the first time at Hueco Tanks to successfully remove graffiti from pictographs. As of 2016, after five years of monitoring, there was no evidence of negative impact resulting from this laser treatment.


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Cite this Record

Laser Removal of Graffiti from Pictographs at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site, El Paso County, Texas: A Five-Year Review. Tim Roberts. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431262)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15702

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