Archaeological Research Collections

Please see this important announcement regarding access to collections.

The Archaeological Collections constitute the museum’s largest collection, and are an important part of New Mexico’s cultural heritage. Representing the largest assemblage of archaeological materials in New Mexico, the Repository contains an estimated 8 million artifacts and samples cataloged by container, and approximately 35,000 individually cataloged artifacts, along with more than 250 linear ft. of accompanying notes, maps, and photos. Although some materials were collected from archaeological sites by Dr. Edgar Lee Hewett during the early 1900s, or from WPA projects during the 1930s, most of the collection has been assembled through Cultural Resource Management (CRM) investigations conducted since 1954, and includes both prehistoric and historic Native American materials as well as historic Euro-American artifacts recovered from Spanish Colonial settlements through early 20th century Anglo homesteads.

The Museum acts as the Repository for the State of New Mexico, curating archaeological materials from State lands, and also accepts donations of artifacts from private land in New Mexico. In addition, the Museum cares for archaeological materials from Federal and tribal lands within New Mexico, which are held by the Museum as long-term loans. Curation agreements may be obtained from the Curator of Archaeological Research Collections, Julia Clifton, (505) 476-1268, or The Procedures Manual for Submission of Archaeological Artifact and Record Collections details the standards that must be met when submitting archaeological collections to the Museum for curation. The Manual includes a current curation fee schedule.

If you are planning to deposit collections in the Repository, please contact Diana Sherman, the Archaeological Research Collections Manager at (505) 476-1266 or (505) 476-4440 in order to schedule a drop-off. E-mail at

Collection access is available to researchers by appointment only, 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. To arrange a visit, please follow the access procedures. For questions, or to follow up on your requested appointment, please contact the Curator of Archaeological Research Collections.

Comparative collections of ceramics, lithics, mineral specimens, and petrographic slides are maintained in the H.P. Mera Room at the Center for New Mexico Archaeology. To make an appointment to examine the Mera Room study collections, contact the Collections Manager at (505) 476-4440.  

Requests to photograph objects in collections, for research use only, are considered on a case-by-case basis.  Requests for Scientific Testing of archaeological specimens are considered by the Museum’s Collections Committee at monthly meetings. Loans of materials for research can be made to qualified institutions.  Requests for loans must be made in writing and are also considered by the Collections Committee at their monthly meetings.