Hidalgo County New Mexico
Lordsburg Mammoth Site

Summary of information on the Lordsburg mammoth site

This short list is incomplete and will soon be replaced by a text which fully documents the historical aspects of the discovery. This was posted on a site at http://dana.ucc.nau.edu/~prh4/lordsbur.htm and it became unavailable. The author is unknown. (Recovered by Nancy Hough.)

The first mammoth was uncovered in May 1961 during construction along HWY 70 north of Lordsburg. Excavation in the pit stopped, and two anthropology graduate students (one from Univ. of New Mexico at Albuquerque and one from the Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe) came to evaluate the site. The second mammoth was uncovered less than a week later, some 150 feet from the first.

No cultural association was immediately apparent, so the graduate students left the excavation to local volunteers and left instructions that if any artifacts were found, to bring it two their attention. The excavation continued and some material was jacketed and stored with intent to display in a local soon-to-be-formed museum (a tusk and lower mandible with teeth are specifically mentioned in the local newspaper.)

Apparently no artifacts were ever reported, and the anthropology students never returned. A large portion of limb bone is currently retained by one of the original volunteer excavators, this man recalls that the skeletons appeared to have been mostly articulated.

The site is located on what appears to be the margin of a pluvial lake. The site appears to have intact deposits that were untouched by heavy equipment, and were thus inaccessible to the volunteer excavators.


The site today is a pit that holds water. The bones were found at an approximate depth of 8 ? feet, and future excavation on the previously unexcavated area may (or may not) encounter water as that depth is approached.

There are three known photographs. Two, from the local newspaper, show plaster jacked Mammoth tusks. The third, an excavation photo, appears to have come from the local Soil Conservation Service office, and shows people excavating large bones in the newly opened pit.

No official record of this site appears to exist, no NM institutions are aware of it (including the NMMNH in Albuquerque).

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