Dunefield geoarchaeology at White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA: Site formation, resource use, and dunefield dynamics
A recent reconnaissance survey at White Sands National Monument highlighted the importance of understanding the unique geology of the gypsum dunefield in order to interpret the archaeological record. Our geoarchaeological studies, carried out in conjunction with that survey and follow-up excavations, generated insights into site formation processes, the timing of past occupations, the landscape context of sites, and the resource procurement strategies of the people who visited the dunefield during the past several millennia. Our research also produced information about natural processes that can create landscape features superficially similar to archaeological sites, illuminated soil formation processes, and highlighted the importance of biotic soil crusts in the dunefield environment. The results are useful for interpreting archaeological data produced by other studies and will be helpful in guiding future archaeological investigations. In addition, our study suggests that continued archaeological research could contribute significantly to understanding rates of dune migration, the long-term trajectory of dunefield growth, and local impacts of climate change.
Sociology and Anthropology
archaeological site formation, dunefield geomorphology, geoarchaeology, resource use, soil formation
Worman, F. Scott, Alexander Kurota, and Patrick Hogan. "Dunefield geoarchaeology at White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA: Site formation, resource use, and dunefield dynamics." Geoarchaeology 34, no. 1 (2019): 42-61.