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Welcome back friends! It’s another fantabulous episode of basically the best podcast that ever lived, “The Struggling Archaeologist’s Guide to Getting Dirty!”

So perhaps you noticed that I disappeared from the interwebs all of last week, that’s because I was working outside the reach of modern technology (and air conditioning). I had a fun week camping and surveying in the Zuni Mountains of New Mexico, which sounded like a pretty good topic for this week’s episode. We discuss the history of pioneering logging efforts in this area, as well as what an archaeological survey is like (well, at least a Jenny-style one!).

The Zuni Mountain Railroad operated between 1890 and1930, and created a web of industrial and cultural landscapes snaking through the pine forests and hills of central New Mexico. Now a national park, the remains of the railroads and the men and women who lived hard lives in the shadow of the mountains are scattered through the area. The efforts of the Park Service will hopefully allow for the preservation of this valuable cultural heritage.

Have fun listening to the podcast, here are some of the pictures I promised from my super fun week out in the woods! Be sure to follow me at  and on twitter @strugglingarch!

McNiven OUT!



My gigantic palace tent!






Remains from the Zuni Mountian Railroad, ready for surveying!





I found a fork! Forks are the best!






This rail line disappears into the ravine (a product of recent erosion)




A turn-of-the-century cabin, almost lost completely to the eroding canyon below…












My excitement over said trestle






El Morro national park






The El Morro Pueblo, perched atop the massive Cliffside…





The El Morro Kiva







The top of El Morro







Rock art from the El Morro site




That’s all folks, thanks for reading, enjoy the podcast and visit your state’s national parks this summer!

Episode 16 “Go West, Young (Wo)Man!”
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