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Bradbury Science Museum

Archaeology on Lab Land

People have lived in this area for more than 5,000 years. Lab archaeologists are studying and preserving the ancient human occupation of the Pajarito Plateau.

  • Archaeology on Lab Land exhibit

    Environmental Research & Monitoring

    Visit our exhibit and find out how Los Alamos researchers are studying our rich cultural diversity.

  • Nake'muu archaeological site

    Unique Archaeology

    The thousands of Ancestral Pueblo sites identified on Lab land are among the highest concentration of such sites in the American Southwest.

  • Excavation site on Lab property

    Preserving Our History

    Archaeologists excavate sites on Lab property rarely, only if an area is needed for mission-essential work.

  • Protecting archaeological sites on Lab land

    Protecting Archaeological Sites

    Public access is limited on Lab land, so vandalism to archaeological sites is rare.

  • Working with Neighboring Pueblos

    Working with Neighboring Pueblos

    Members of neighboring Pueblos help the Lab ensure ancient sites are given proper cultural respect and handling.

Understanding the Past

Petroglyphs on Lab Land slide show

Petroglyphs on Lab Land

When the Manhattan Project started here on the Pajarito Plateau, scientists moved onto a land that had been occupied for thousands of years. The evidence identified here—stone tools, petroglyphs, multistory pueblos—has helped archaeologists piece together a 5,500-year history of human occupation.

Archaeology and the Lab’s Mission

Archaeology and the Lab's Mission

Archaeology and the Lab Mission

Today’s interaction of the Lab’s science mission and its archaeological studies is essential in both continuing our scientific work and preserving the area’s rich cultural history. Today when the Lab embarks on any project, archaeologists are called in to assess how proposed project and operations could affect archaeological sites.

Protecting a Rich History

Nake’muu: Village on the Edge video

Nake'muu: Village on the Edge

Lab archaeologists work to ensure the Lab complies with federal laws protecting sites here, preserving the land’s rich history for future generations. Archaeological research and collaborations with local Pueblo and Hispanic families, who have ancestral ties to the sites, continue to strength our knowledge of past cultures.

Lab Archaeologists

Archaeology at Los Alamos video

Archaeology at Los Alamos

With thousands of archaeological sites located on Lab property, the Lab must comply with all federal laws requiring management of prehistoric and historic sites during any land development. Lab archaeologists record, monitor, and study the sites to minimize impacts from Lab operations, thus helping to preserve our rich cultural history.