In 1939, road construction that took place in the Quarai Unit of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument in central New Mexico unearthed an Ice Age megafauna skeleton (herein referred to as “the Hurt Mammoth”). Photographs taken at the time show skeletal remains belonging to a proboscidean, possibly a mammoth. Archaeologist Wesley Hurt removed several of these bones from the road cut, placed them into plaster field jackets, and removed them from the site. Since then, however, a statewide search of museum collections has failed to locate the bones removed during Hurt’s excavation. In addition, the exact location of the purported mammoth remains in the field is no longer known, but has remained of interest. Using historic landscape photographs and field notes from Hurt’s private collection, it has been possible to determine the approximate location of Hurt’s mammoth discovery. However, it remained unclear if the remaining road-cut stratigraphy contained any additional bones that may have been left behind after the original 1939–1940 excavation. So, a testing project was conducted to determine whether additional skeletal remains of the Hurt Mammoth were still present in the road cut. Although no mammoth bones were recovered during the project, findings from the associated analyses can now make a compelling argument for the approximate stratigraphic provenance and terminal Pleistocene age (22,930–12,560 calibrated years before present) for the lost proboscidean bones.

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