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Sandia Cave, New Mexico

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Definition:

The archaeological site of Sandia Cave, located in the American state of New Mexico, is one of those sites that archaeologists and politics have clashed so strenuously that we'll probably never really know what's going on with it. Excavated by Frank Hibben in the late 1940s, Sandia Cave contained Folsom artifacts, seemingly below a dripstone layer dated by uranium dating to 226,300 years ago.

This interpretation cannot be right, no matter what anybody has ever said in any publication in the past; the easiest resolution is that the dripstone layer was actually identified below the Folsom artifacts and recorded incorrectly; or the dates are wrong.

Sources on Sandia Cave

Howard, Calvin D. 1988 Notes on Sandia Points. Plains Anthropologist 33(122):535-537.

Thompson, Jessica C., Nawa Sugiyama, and Gary S. Morgan 2008 Taphonomic Analysis of the Mammalian Fauna from Sandia Cave, New Mexico, and the "Sandia Man" Controversy. American Antiquity 73 (2):337-360.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

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