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Get an introduction to obsidian analysis

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Learn about how archaeologists study ancient sites in the wake of forest fires, from 7-8 p.m. Tuesday at Pajarito Environmental Education Center. Dr. Anastasia Steffen will give a hands-on introduction to archaeological obsidian analyses and an overview of current projects underway at the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
The large forest fires of the last few decades have burned much of the eastern Jemez Mountains, including about one-third of the Valles Caldera. Culminating with the recent Las Conchas Fire, this spate of wildfires burned hundreds of archaeological sites, including more than 80 percent of the prehistoric obsidian quarries.
In this talk, Steffen will consider the methods archaeologists can use to understand how past peoples made tools, when they were making them, how past forest fires may have affected the archaeological sites, how the soil deposits at these sites have changed over the centuries, and ways that the volcanic glass was transported and traded across the continent.
Steffen is cultural resources coordinator at the Valles Caldera National Preserve and adjunct faculty in the Anthropology Department at the University of New Mexico. She has worked in the Jemez Mountains since 1990 and has led archaeological inventory and research at the preserve since 2001.


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