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E.T. Atari landfill dig set for April 26

Alamogordo, N.M. excavation open to the public

The dig hoped to surface thousands of E.T. The Extraterrestrial Atari 2600 cartridges from a New Mexico landfill will begin on April 26.

The Alamogordo excavation will be open to the public from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm, Microsoft noted on Xbox Wire. A documentary film crew working with Xbox Entertainment Studios will be on hand to record the events along with "a team of archeologists" and the game's designer, Howard Scott Warshaw.


The landfill has long been rumored to be the final resting place for the cartridges and other Atari products. According to urban legend, the firm filled as many as nine garbage trucks with unsold merchandise and sent them off to Alamogordo.

The fate of the dig was uncertain when the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) voiced concern over a 2004 study of the landfill which found elevated levels of several chemicals and claimed "22 compounds of concern" had been found at the site.

The NMED has since approved the dig as long as the three production companies adhere to a number of safety conditions.