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AmaTerra Excited to Conduct First Ever Sarlacc Investigation (Originally Published May 2015)

While conducting terrestrial archaeological survey along a proposed highway expansion southwest of Socorro, NM, AmaTerra crews made an exciting discovery: the fossilized remains of a mighty Sarlacc. With no plans to re-route the proposed highway, AmaTerra now has been instructed to investigate this find more thoroughly to determine what remains and what sorts of data can be recovered.

A Combination of Cultural and Biological Resource

“This really is an amazing discovery,” said Nick Trierweiler, Ph.D., head of Cultural Resources at AmaTerra, “Our cultural resource crew expected to find a prehistoric hearth, or a historic period homestead, or even just a whole lot of nothing; we never expected finding the remains of a 20,000-year-old, extraterrestrial, semi-sentient plant/animal hybrid. Who would’ve?!?"

Though these creatures are known to exist across the universe, one has never been found on Earth until now. AmaTerra understands the research opportunity that this alien species presents here in the sand. AmaTerra staff biologist Elena Pinto-Torres explains, “A lot of our information about these Sarlaccs comes from records generated long, long ago in galaxies far, far away so it’s spotty at best. What we know for sure is that the toothy, circular mouth with tentacles that we see from the surface is just a small fraction of the creature. We’re going to work with the archaeologists during their excavation to learn about these creatures. If there are more out there on earth, they’re certainly a protected species at this point. On top of that, the pit may be jusrisdictional, so we’ll be delineating it as well.”

Ms. Pinto-Torres is excited by this find, stating, “You know, I’ve studied a lot of plants and a lot of animals during my professional career. I’ve never studied something that’s both! And yes… We double checked... it indeed is no longer alive so we don’t need to worry about being grabbed by one of its tentacles.”

Artist's concept drawing of Sarlacc below the ground surface. Excavations will improve the accuracy of this representation. (Source)

Unique Research Opportunity for Historical Archaeologists as Well

Historical archaeologists know that if there is a hole in the ground, someone throws things into it. “When we conduct excavations in historic contexts, cisterns, wells, and privies are usually the most prolific features for artifacts,” says AmaTerra senior archaeologist, Rachel Feit. “Sure, privies can be kind of gross, but to archaeologists they really can provide a wealth of data! We’re viewing this Sarlacc as a giant privvy - one that’s been used for the entire span of human history in the New World. Exciting stuff!”

According to Nick Trierweiler, it’s very likely this Sarlacc will yield a great deal of information for AmaTerra’s archaeology crew. “There very likely will be many artifacts down in its stomach,” Nick said, “But our first job is to deterimine if we can learn something from them. That’s what’s important in finds like these. Its slow digestion rate gives us a chance to see just what this creature ate over the decades and centuries. We expect to find the occasional bottle or can… Maybe we can find some stone tools since they take a long time to digest. We can look for bones of other animals to determine the climate in this region."

Furthermore, our historians have found records indicating that Sarlaccs were used for ritual executions in other parts of the galaxy. Says Historian Kurt Korfmacher: "In one particularly brutal instance, a Sarlacc caught and devoured a dangerous and powerful bounty hunter (see below). How was something so immobile able to claim such a formidable victim? It seems almost impossible to me, but it's right there in that archival footage."

Archival footage of bounty hunter's death at the hands of a Sarlacc. Tatooine.

For his part Dr. Trierweiler is looking forward to learning how Sarlaccs kill and digest their prey. "I just hope to find a lightsaber. We have so few examples of those in the archaeological record. What were the sources of the crystals that generated the lightsaber's blade in New Mexico? Many, many questions could be answered right down there."

May the 4th Be With You... Always...

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