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October 6, 2022 @ 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
Mary G. Madigan, Director of Public Programs and Communications
(505) 954-7223

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Footprints from White Sands: Discovery, Dating, and Significance
Matthew Bennett, David Bustos, Vance Holliday

When David Bustos, archaeologist and resource program manager at White Sands National Park, discovered prehistoric human footprints at White Sands in 2009, he did not expect that they would later be dated to the Last Glacial Maximum (26,000–19,000 years ago). At the time, most archaeological data suggested that humans arrived in the Americas 15,000 to 13,000 years ago. This tremendous discovery pushes back the clock almost 10,000 years, challenging long-held views about the earliest human occupation of North America. Join Bustos and two members of the team that documented and researched the footprints, Matthew Bennett and Vance Holliday, in an online presentation followed by a Q&A to learn about their discovery and research methods.

Matthew Bennett, Ph.D., is a professor of environmental and geographical sciences at Bournemouth University, UK, and has been published widely on aspects of glaciology, sedimentology, and geomorphology. Bennett has worked on human footprint projects throughout the world. His paper about the White Sands footprints and human presence in the Americas during the Last Glacial Maximum was published in Science in 2021.

Archaeologist David Bustos is the resource program manager at White Sands National Park and a graduate of New Mexico State University. He is responsible for the management of the park’s cultural and natural resources and has investigated ancient human and megafauna footprints throughout the park for more than a decade.

Vance Holliday, Ph.D., is professor of anthropology and geosciences at the University of Arizona. Holliday directs the Argonaut Archaeological Research Fund (AARF), which is devoted to research on the geoarchaeology of the Paleoindian people of the Southwest. His career is largely devoted to reconstructing and interpreting the landscapes and environments in which the First Americans lived, and how these conditions evolved.

This event is presented by the Linda S. Cordell lecture fund.

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