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NMSU employees, former student receive preservation awards

Individuals from New Mexico State University responsible for the creation of the Summerford Mountain Archaeological District were among the recipients of the Heritage Preservation Award, given by the Historic Preservation Division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

Individuals from NMSU who helped to create the Summerford Mountain Archaeological District received state preservation awards. From left are the Dona Ana Archaeological society's Robert Pick and Michael Hughes and NMSU's Frederick Ayers, Beth O'Leary, former student Carolyn Bostick Pruett and Derek Bailey. (Courtesy Photo)

The Cultural Properties Review Committee presented the awards at the 36th annual awards ceremony, Friday, May 2, at the Scottish Rite Center in Santa Fe.

Milton Thomas, former director of NMSU's Animal and Range Sciences Department; Derek Bailey, current director of the Animal and Range Sciences Department; Calvin Bailey, ranch foreman at the NMSU Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center; and Carolyn Bostick Pruett, a former graduate student in NMSU's Anthropology Department received awards for Archaeological Heritage.

Also receiving the award were the Dona Ana Archaeological Society's president Michael Hughes and principal investigator Robert Pick who completed the original archaeological survey.

The Summerford Mountain Archaeological District was listed at the highest level of significance in the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. More than 350 rock art images have been documented - one of the most comprehensive surveys in southern New Mexico - which formed the basis of a state register nomination. NMSU provided technical knowledge of Summerford's history, archaeology and environment, which more fully developed the nomination. As part of her master's degree in Anthropology, Pruett provided additional research that encompassed West Texas, Arizona and northern New Mexico that will help future scholars track the migration of cultural groups across the desert landscape. Her research helped propel the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

This year's ceremony was themed around New Deal 75, which is being celebrated statewide with numerous community events that commemorate the legacy of the many programs that put thousands of New Mexicans back to work during the Great Depression. The awards ceremony, community events and a commemorative poster depicting New Mexico's premier New Deal project, the construction of Conchas Dam, are all part of Heritage Preservation Month events celebrated nationally each May.