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Grand Canyon National Park to Host Archeology Day on March 24

arch day sifting
Archeology Day participants sifting for artifacts.
NPS Photo by Michael Quinn

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News Release Date: February 24, 2012
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, AZ. – On Saturday, March 24, 2012, Grand Canyon National Park will host its 5th annual Archeology Day in honor of Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month. 

Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month is intended to inform the public about archeology in the state of Arizona. In Grand Canyon National Park alone, over 4300 archeological sites have been recorded to date, and archeologists estimate that the park may have as many as 50,000 – 60,000 sites. Some of the artifacts found in the park date back almost 12,000 years, testimony to the vast extent of the human history of the area. That history lives on as the descendents of those ancient peoples continue to utilize the area today.

Grand Canyon National Park's Archeology Day is intended to help park visitors learn more about those who lived here long ago and to gain a greater understanding of the work that archeologists do and what can be learned from their research.  The event will feature opportunities for visitors to try their hands at making clay pinch pots and split-twig figurines; creating rock art using scratch art paper; coloring Hopi pot designs; sifting for artifacts; and planting corn, beans  and squash seeds - traditional foods of the park's native peoples. Additionally, there will be special programs by park archeologist Jason Nez and NAU anthropology professor Chris Downum. All activities are free and family friendly and will take place between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the Shrine of the Ages which can be easily accessed via the park's free Village Route shuttle.

Archeology Day will conclude with a very special evening program by Shonto Begay, artist, author, educator and Grand Canyon Master Artist-in-Residence. Begay will discuss how his Navajo heritage and the rich culture of the Navajo reservation have influenced his contemporary paintings, as well as his environmental and social justice activism. Begay's program will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Shrine of Ages Auditorium located on the South Rim near Parking Lot A.   

Additional special Evening Programs, focusing on archeology topics, will be held throughout the month of March.  

For more information on Archeology Day (including a full schedule of events once available) and on special park programs happening throughout Archeology and Heritage Awareness Month, please visit the park's web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/arch_day.htm, or call Supervisory Park Ranger Libby Schaaf at 928-638-7641.   

-NPS-

Did You Know?

COLORADO RIVER AT THE BOTTOM OF GRAND CANYON

From Yavapai Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the drop to the Colorado River below is 4,600 feet (1,400 m). The elevation at river level is 2,450 feet (750 m) above sea level. Without the Colorado River, a perennial river in a desert environment, the Grand Canyon would not exist.