Southwest Archaeology Program

In the summer of 2019, Jason Sherman initiated the Sierra Blanca Archaeological Survey (SBAS) in the Sierra Blanca highlands of south-central New Mexico.

The Sierra Blanca region constitutes part of the Jornada Mogollon culture area (a branch of the Mogollon archaeological tradition) and was an important transitional zone between societies in the Southwest and the Southern Plains during pre-Hispanic times. The primary aim of the SBAS is to document evidence of the long history of human activity in what is today the Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area. Sites recorded thus far span from the Formative period (ca. AD 500-1450)—when a complex web of social, cultural, and economic interactions linked the region’s inhabitants to neighboring groups—to much more recent times. The latter include sites related to Fort Stanton, a US military fort established in 1855 that is now a New Mexico Historic Site.

Student participation is a key facet of the SBAS. The project provides undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to gain field experience in the Southwest, learn survey methods, and work with a wide range of pre-Hispanic and more recent (historic) archaeological materials.