Sandia Cave

Sandia Cave is an archaeological site near Bernalillo, New Mexico, within Cibola National Forest, that is open to the public. It is rather difficult to reach, as it is located high up on the steep wall of Las Huertas Canyon on the north end of the Sandia Mountains.

A statement of its significance in 1961 read:

Excavations here have yielded information on three distinct prehistoric groups. Situated in Cibola National Forest, the site represents one of the earliest known occupations of the Americas.

A recent condition report is:

Sandia Cave appears to be in satisfactory condition. This natural cave is located in a limestone cliff face above Los Huertas Creek in the Sandia Mountains. The cave was prehistorically occupied and has been intensively excavated. The site is publicly accessible via a quarter-mile trail and a metal circular staircase leading to the cave entrance. The length of the cave is unknown and the inspection was performed on the first ten meters of the interior; after this point the cave narrows and artificial lighting is necessary. This site is not at risk from environmental or natural causes. Since the site has been thoroughly excavated, there are no portable artifacts, walls, or fragile components that need to be protected. The greatest threat to this site is the potential for vandalism. The site has experienced heavy vandalism over the past several years. The entrance to the cave is covered in graffiti done primarily with spray paint but markers, chalk, crayons, and etching have also been used. The graffiti also appears on the bars and railings that support the staircase and cage-like entry way. More graffiti is present within the cave but is slightly less dense than at the cave entrance. The ceiling of the cave is covered with a heavy layer of soot from prehistoric occupation and graffiti has been applied to many parts of the soot. There does not appear to be a significant amount of new graffiti within the cave since the last report, although some of the more recent graffiti (possibly within the last year) covers a large area. There are no other changes to the site itself since the last report.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

Read more about Sandia CaveHistory, External Links

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