Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
PORTALES—The public is invited to enjoy refreshments at a recognition ceremony for new interpretive/educational signs and a large group shelter at Eastern New Mexico University's Blackwater Draw Archaeological Site at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9.
Speaking at the ceremony will be ENMU President Steven Gamble, State Parks Director Dave Simon, and John Montgomery, director of ENMU's Agency for Conservation Archaeology.
ENMU and New Mexico State Parks are celebrating the completion of a project to improve visitor facilities at Blackwater Draw near Portales. Using funds requested by Governor Bill Richardson and appropriated by the New Mexico State Legislature, State Parks funded an $80,000 project to install a large group shelter and new interpretive/educational signs throughout the world-famous site.
Montgomery said, “The new signs and shelter at Blackwater Draw represent a collaborative effort between New Mexico State Parks and Eastern New Mexico University to provide a more meaningful experience for everyone who visits Blackwater Draw. The generous grant from State Parks is helping Eastern realize a vision to provide more interpretive information about the historical significance of the archaeological artifacts at Blackwater Draw. The grant helps Eastern modernize its presentation and facilities at the site, and recognizes the significance of Blackwater Draw to the citizens of New Mexico. We are very grateful to New Mexico State Parks for their generosity in working with Eastern.”
Simon said, “Blackwater Draw is as significant as any state park and State Parks is proud to partner with Eastern to protect New Mexico’s heritage. This project will upgrade the visitor experience at Blackwater, improve it as a tourism destination, and increase its value as an outdoor classroom that can teach children and other visitors of all ages.”
Blackwater Draw is owned by ENMU. The site is located seven miles northeast of Portales on NM 467 and one mile from Oasis State Park.
Blackwater was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961. It is one of the most well-known and significant sites in North American archaeology. The site’s importance was first recognized in 1929 by Ridgely Whiteman of Clovis, N.M. Early investigations at Blackwater Draw recovered evidence of a human occupation in association with Late Pleistocene fauna, including Columbian mammoth, camel, horse, bison, saber tooth cat and dire wolf.
Since its discovery, the Blackwater Draw site has been a focal point for scientific investigations by academic institutions and organizations from across the nation. The Carnegie Institute, Smithsonian Institution, Academy of Natural Sciences, National Science Foundation, United States National Museum, National Geographic Society and more than a dozen major universities either have funded or participated in research at Blackwater Draw.
EMNU also owns and operates the Blackwater Draw Museum, located on Highway 70, about seven miles northeast of Portales and eight miles south of Clovis. The museum displays artifacts discovered at the Blackwater Draw Site and interprets life at the site from Clovis times (over 13,000 years ago) through the recent historic period. The Blackwater Draw site and museum are under the direction of Dr. John Montgomery of ENMU.
For further information about Blackwater Draw, contact Joanne Dickenson, Site Manager, at 575.356.5235 or visit http://www.enmu.edu/services/museums/blackwater-draw/