Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Karl Laumbach – Preserving the Mimbres Pueblo Legacy: The Elk Ridge Story

January 15 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

The Mimbres Pueblo culture came to its zenith during the late 11th and early 12th centuries.  Large and small pueblo sites utilizing some of the most beautiful black-on-white ceramics ever made could be found on the Gila, Mimbres and Rio Grande drainage systems.  Mimbres ceramics were widely traded within the system and far to the east into southcentral New Mexico.  Unlike other southwestern ceramics of the time, Mimbres bowls often depicted images of everyday life, animals and reflections of Mimbres religious traditions. As a consequence they were and remain highly desired by collectors.

Digging for “pots” in pueblo sites has been a recreational activity across the American Southwest for more than a century.  During the mid-1970s, commercial “pothunters”, spurred on by a growing art market for all things Southwestern, began the methodical bulldozing of Mimbres Pueblo sites in southwestern New Mexico. By 1989 many of the large Mimbres pueblo sites on private land (and many on public land) had been destroyed.  In an effort to stop this wholesale destruction, a legislative effort enacted a law which made it a 4th degree felony to knowingly disturb a human burial on private land in the State of New Mexico.

Prior to the spring of 1989, no one knew that a large intact Mimbres Pueblo lay buried under alluvium on the West Fork of the Mimbres River.  For the 90 days before the law took effect, the landowner used heavy equipment to extract as many pots as possible but the sheer depth of the deposits prevented complete destruction. The Elk Ridge Story chronicles those halcyon times and the controversial effort by Human Systems Research to preserve what was left of a previously undocumented and highly significant Mimbres Pueblo.


January 15
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


DuVal Auditorium, Banner-University Medical Center
1501 N Campbell Ave
Tucson, AZ United States
+ Google Map