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Archaeological Ordinance to Preserve Unique Cultural Heritage

In response to recent events involving the damage of archeological resources in Albuquerque, City Councilor Martin Heinrich has introduced an ordinance designed to ensure the protection of significant archeological discoveries.

While Heinrich has been working on the details of this ordinance for nearly two years, several recent events have illustrated the need for this legislation.

On Tuesday, January 27th, 2007, crews adding new athletic fields at Bosque Preparatory School on Albuquerque’s Northwest side uncovered a centuries-old Pueblo Indian site dating back to A.D. 1300 to 1400. In August, construction crews excavating rock for a waterline to the new northwest high school damaged many artifacts demonstrating proof of a Folsom culture presence in the Albuquerque area.

The bill is the result of extensive consultation with local archaeologists as well as representatives of the real estate and building industry. It will enable a “City Archaeologist” to protect material remains of past human activity that are at least 75 years old and of potential historic or pre-historic significance, including artifacts, monuments and other cultural remains.

“Albuquerque is growing and new construction is a fact of life. However I believe we must protect our heritage as we grow. My hope is that this ordinance will prevent both inadvertent and willful destruction of priceless archeological resources,” stated Councilor Heinrich.

Heinrich’s ordinance would place a City Archeologist in the City of Albuquerque’s Planning Department. The new position would approve subdivision plats, site plans and master plans in areas where significant archeological resources are present in order to ensure the preservation of those resources.