In DepthEnergy Development

Big Archaeology fights Big Oil to preserve ancient landscape

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Science  21 Aug 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6250, pp. 774-775
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6250.774

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Between about 850 C.E. and 1250 C.E., Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico's San Juan Basin was at the center of a vast and sophisticated Pueblo culture. Today, the park is at the center of an oil and gas boom that archaeologists, environmentalists, and Native American activists say threatens a broader landscape filled with hundreds of Chacoan sites. Earlier this month, Chaco experts presented a plan to slow down the granting of drilling leases close to the park. They are also preparing a white paper arguing that the widest possible region around Chaco Canyon should be protected from drilling. Meanwhile, environmental and Native American groups have gone to court to block 239 pending drilling permits in the Chaco area.

  • * in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

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