Thousands of archaeologists coming to Albuquerque to explore, present research

Thousands of archaeologists from all over the world will be here in Albuquerque this week.

New Mexico’s history was a big reason why organizers chose the Duke City to host the annual event at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

In years’ past, they have met up in major cities like San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Orlando for an annual meeting. This year, these researchers and scientists are coming to Albuquerque where they can get out and see the state’s national monuments and protected open spaces.

“It’s really a big deal,” said Matt Schmader, an adjunct archaeology professor at the University of New Mexico. “There’s going to be almost 5,000 archaeologists coming from all around the world and Albuquerque got chosen this year to host this annual convention. Usually, they’re in big cities.”

Organizers say the convention’s impact is expected to last beyond this week and bring people back to New Mexico to explore even more.

“It helps put us on the map. And I’m sure that it means people will come back and visit, but we have a long tradition of a lot of archeological studies like here with the university or other companies that are around here, so it just helps to solidify the fact that we are on equal footing of just about any place you can name,” said Schmader.

Plus, it’s expected to bring in thousands of dollars to the local economy through travel and tourism.

“Even though there are a lot of papers to see, a lot of people are coming so they can go and visit the historic sites in New Mexico,” said Schmader. “We have so many places. If you just drive an hour, hour and a half from Albuquerque, you can go to multiple state monuments, national monuments. Here in the city, there’s open space areas that protect these ancient sites.”

Locals like Schmader say the history of New Mexico’s sites like the Petroglyphs, Chaco Canyon and Bandelier is a big reason for the convention coming here. In fact, the convention will even offer a special session on Saturday about protecting Chaco Canyon.

“Albuquerque is one of the most ancient cities in the North American continent,” said Schmader. “We have evidence of people who lived here over 12,000 years.”

The convention is offering something new this year, as well. Any member of the public can drop in for a day for $25 and learn what archaeologists are working on all over the world.

The convention begins Wednesday and will run through Sunday.

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