BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT VIRTUAL EXHIBIT
OF THE COLLECTIONS FROM THE SILVER BELL MINING DISTRICT AND THE
NOGALES WASH SITE COMPLEX
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 BLM
or to the Arizona
Next Section: Arizona Through Time