Elk Ridge Pueblo is located along an arroyo. During the current excavations, three rooms which were eroding into the arroyo were exposed. These rooms had been disturbed by flooding and were in danger of being completely destroyed during future flood events. The excavations allowed the Forest to install gabion baskets along the drainage. Gabion baskets are large rectangular wire baskets stacked next to each other that are filled with large rocks to provide bank stabilization.
The rooms that were excavated showed clear indications of remodeling through time. Dr. Roth observed, “We’re going to learn a lot from this project, even though we didn’t really excavate that much area.” Dr. Wendy Sutton, Gila National Forest Archaeologist, commented “We’re really lucky we were able to conduct this research before the rooms washed away and we lost them forever; we are grateful to everyone who helped with the project. Without the assistance of a skilled group of volunteers, this work would have been impossible.” Researchers hope that data collected will help build a better understanding of how people lived 1,000 years ago.
National forests contain special places of historic and cultural importance to local communities, Native American tribes and humanity. Elk Ridge is one such site. The Gila National Forest relies on partners and volunteers to help us be stewards of these special places. This year (and next) we are honoring the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966. The NHPA helps us maintain our connection to the land, learning more about our past while managing for use into the future.