The El Malpais National Conservation Area (EMNCA) of west central New Mexico contains dozens of early-20th-century archaeological sites. One site, the Savage homestead (LA 74544), contains evidence of a relatively intensive settlement history in the form of more than 20 structures, roads, fields, and artifacts. The Savage homestead settlement history is investigated through dendrochronological, documentary, archaeological, and oral history data. The assembled data testify to the tenacity and strength of a widow with six children subsisting in the isolation of the high desert of New Mexico and threading her way through the federal paperwork maze to earn a homestead patent - a task accomplished, but an occupation that was short-lived. The social, economic, and environmental contexts of the occupation and abandonment suggest implications for understanding the regional occupation of the area both historically and prehistorically.
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