Mortuary Analysis of St. Joseph Sanatorium, Albuquerque, New Mexico: A Multidisciplinary Approach


In 1984-1985 several sets of human remains were inadvertently discovered at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. These remains were excavated by the University of New Mexico and the Office of Contract Archaeology. In all a total of 12 individuals were excavated from this previously forgotten cemetery. St. Joseph’s Hospital was established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1902 as a tuberculosis sanitarium for well-heeled clients to rest and recuperate in what was then thought of as one of the healthiest cities in the United States. Sanitariums like St. Joseph were established throughout the New Mexico territory to attract more wealthy individuals to settle the territory and finally make their bid for statehood stick. Initial analysis of skeletal, dental, and funerary data seems to partially contradict this model that has held for the role sanitariums played in late territorial New Mexico. Of the individuals whose dental morphology could be analyzed, most (5/8) were of Hispanic ancestry, and at least two individuals (2/8) were of African American ancestry. Coffin hardware and funerary artifacts were uniform and indicative of middle- or lower-middle-class socioeconomic status. These data suggest a more nuanced view of tuberculosis treatment during the late territorial period.

Cite this Record

Mortuary Analysis of St. Joseph Sanatorium, Albuquerque, New Mexico: A Multidisciplinary Approach. William Marquardt, Alexis O'Donnell, Karen Price, Katie Williams, Heather Edgar. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442877)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22088