The Main Stream

May 8, 2012 3:53 PM

Rare artifacts found in remote Organ Pipe desert

TUCSON - Experts are testing some rare artifacts found by border patrol agents in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument over the last few months.

They're trying to assess just how old the artifacts are and what people may have used them.

Agents patroling on foot found an ancient bowl in a shady alcove in late February.

That bowl is actually an "olla," used to store water and keep it cool.

The clay olla has a weathered exterior that helped it blend in with its surroundings in the alcove.

Then, in March, Tucson sector agents working in the same mountains found similar artifacts hidden in the entrance of a natural cave.

Agents documented the discovery and then called people at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument for the artifacts' removal and preservation.

A spokesperson for the Border Patrol says they're not sure if the artifacts were left behind by the people who once used them or if they were left behind by smugglers who may have found the artifacts and hidden them away to retrieve at a later date.

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