Strange as it may seem from our modern American perspective, New Mexico was literally a foreign country until the middle of the nineteenth century and, as field archaeologist and history instructor Peter Eidenbach discovered, in the minds of some it still is. The New Mexico landscape is easy to get lost in and much of its terrain has not been fully explored in many years. Yet, the state holds a rich cartographic history not often recognized by the many people who daily interact with its topography. Approaching this gap as a teacher and enthusiast, Eidenbach set about compiling a collection of New Mexico’s historic maps, navigating through a varied terrain of research and discovery, even securing permissions for colonial-era maps held in special collections with limited public access. This collection, featuring beautifully rendered diagrams of New Mexico’s landscape, allows exploration of the past as seen by that past’s inhabitants.
Author Peter Eidenbach is an archaeologist, historian, and historic preservation planner who has pursued research in southern New Mexico for the past forty years and teaches at New Mexico State University, Alamogordo.