NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Lidar drone technology is what the University of Missouri used this summer as they researched land near Magdalena. “We are finding a lot of really big sights so far there seems to be a pretty robust sort of local community,” said associate professor of Anthropology, Jeffrey Ferguson.
The researchers found what they believe to be an ancient pueblo. Possibly the result of a large migration of people leaving the four corners. Ferguson said they found architecture, pottery, and other artifacts that resemble those found at the sites throughout the Mesa Verde region.
“So, what we are particularly interested in, is how did the local communities interacted with this large migrant community? We are particularly interested in, how did the locals communities interact with this large migrant community? How did those combine to what we see in the later time periods,” said Ferguson.
Lidar technology uses laser lights to peer through vegetation to get an accurate map. This technology can examine roughly two square miles in a day. Ferguson said walking the ground usually takes them a few weeks to cover a square mile.
Ferguson said there are a number of tribes that claim ancestry in the area, so they’re not sure who the dwellings belong to. They are currently working with the Zuni Cultural Resource Advisory Team, but they want to connect with more tribes to discover who may have lived there.
“Our hope is to expand beyond that and incorporate a number of Native American groups and other groups beyond New Mexico that would like to be involved in the research plus guide the types of research questions they are interested in,” said Ferguson.