The Painted Desert Inn
Evaluation of Structures and Cultural Resources
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All nominated properties except Flattops and Twin Buttes Ruin were visited by WRO Archeologist during December 3, 1974. Slightly more than 300 separate sites have been recorded within the Park, but a number of known sites have not been accurately described or recorded and some large areas have not been formally surveyed. Survey records in the form of individual site cards are kept at Headquarters and this card file has been developed over many years, certainly since the 1930's. Some of the sites carry Museum of Northern Arizona numbers while others are identified by numbers from the old Laboratory of Anthropology (now a unit of the Museum of New Mexico). No standardized numbering system or concordence list seems to be in active use. Although the data on the cards seems basically accurate for the time of recording, many small attached locational maps seem to have been removed from the cards. Only limited organized site collections exist for these recorded sites. Little in the way of archeological or ethnographic collections exist at Headquarters except a few specimens of lithic and ceramic artifacts, some of which are used in the single exhibit case dealing with the Park's prehistoric peoples. Excavated collections are to be found within the holdings of the Museum of New Mexico (probably from Agate House and some surveyed sites), the Museum of Northern Arizona (Puerco Ruin excavations of 1967, possibly sherd lots from Jepson's surveys of 1940 and 1941, and materials from NA10808, salvaged prior to construction of the newer south entrance road), and the Arizona Archeological Center (excavations at Puerco Ruin during 1957-58 and some materials from surveyed sites). There may be a number of specimens in the Smithsonian Institution which were collected by U.S. National Museum archeologist Walter Hough in 1901.

During examination of Puerco Ruin and Agate House, emergency stabilization needs were noted and a memorandum to the Chief, Arizona Archeological Center and Park Superintendent from Western Regional Associate Regional Director, Professional Services regarding these needs was prepared and sent.

Although the various archeological projects in the Park have been reported upon by various individuals in both published and unpublished papers, some research has not been detailed in a report. Arrangements for completion of reports or the locating of a manuscript report for a known research project could be useful. An archeological overview will be prepared by an Archeological Center Archeologist and will include summaries of work accomplished.

Recommendations for Archeological Resources

1. Identification by means of field reconnaissance of archeological resources for partial compliance to Executive Order 11593 should be focused on the following areas of the Park:

a. Painted Desert Wilderness

b. Blue Mesa locality

c. Areas of heavy visitor impact such as Newspaper Rock, Puerco Ruin, Agate House and Tall Trees, and Rainbow Forest

d. Rim of the uplift overlooking Painted Desert badlands

e. Areas immediately near the Puerco River where some upgrading of existing water facilities are planned and historic impact as well as natural erosion may have affected resources

2. Intensive monitoring of visitor defacing at Newspaper Rock should continue and signing the area with positively worded messages might decrease this impact which has already been severe.

3. Improved and updated interpretive programs pertinent to Park archeology at Puerco Ruin, Agate House, and Newspaper Rock as well as increased visual displays in a museum or visitor contact setting. A number of interesting, timely, and educationally valuable themes are possible; adaptation to and use of environment, artistic expression in past peoples' lives, intercultural exchange and development through time, or the conservation philosophy applied to cultural resources. WRO and AAC personnel could provide assistance.

4. Development and protection of accurate records maintained within the Park as to site location, characteristics, and significance of resources. Collected artifacts from specific sites or other proveniences need curatorial attention which might be obtained from the Archeological Center or via contract arrangements with a reputable museum.

5. Recording by mapping and photographic techniques the historic trail route and its actual measureable characteristics such as width, conformation, and slope.

6. Location and description of archeological collections removed from the Park should be accomplished by contacting administrators of regional or national repositories who may have such materials within collections.

7. While the Park library is well-organized and functional for staff use, a bibliography of Park archeology compiled to note gaps in holdings would be useful to interpreters and planners. WRO and AAC personnel could assist in this project.

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Last Updated: 14-Aug-2009