The University of Arizona
Arizona State Museum
Vignettes in Time: Bureau of Land Management Collections at the Arizona State Museum


Map of BLM land in Arizona with sites featured in this exhibition
Silver Bell Complex
Tucson, Arizona
Nogales Wash Complex
Nogales, Arizona
Map of BLM land in Arizona
with sites featured in this exhibition.


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is a federal agency within the Department of the Interior. The BLM manages 262 million acres of public land—about one-eighth of the land in the United States—and about 300 million additional acres of subsurface mineral estate. In Arizona, the BLM manages 12.2 million surface acres and another 17.5 million subsurface acres.

To comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the BLM considers potential effects on historic properties before transferring land out of federal ownership. The archaeological investigations described here are the result of work required by BLM before transferring two parcels of public land to non-federal entities. The Santa Cruz County project was the result of transferring approximately 95 acres to Santa Cruz County for an administrative complex. The Silver Bell project was the result of a land exchange with the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO), in which BLM received private lands in exchange for public lands that were to be mined by ASARCO.

Examples of archaeological investigations for two BLM properties are presented here: one, the Nogales Wash Site Complex is from the Nogales area and involves a prehistoric site, El Macayo, and an early 20th century National Guard Encampment ; the other is the complex of historic sites associated with the Silver Bell Mining District located northwest of Tucson. The archaeological collections from these investigations, as well as other BLM collections, are curated at the Arizona State Museum.

Reports from these investigations are often limited in distribution. The BLM asked the Arizona State Museum to create this virtual exhibit to make these results more accessible. The exhibit includes the summaries of the site excavations, as well as an overview of Southern Arizona culture history, and suggestions for additional reading.

Additional information on BLM archaeological investigations may be obtained by inquiry to the BLMOpens in a new window or to the Arizona State Museum.

Next Section: Arizona Through Time

ASM Home | BLM HomeOpens in a new window | Suggested Readings | Credits
Other ASM Links: Exhibitions | More Online Exhibitions | Collections
Arizona State Museum, The University of ArizonaU.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management

This icon New window icon indicates link opens in a new window.

©2004–2014 Arizona Board of Regents