• Jasper Forest is magical in twilight, particularly the logs on stone pedestals

    Petrified Forest

    National Park Arizona

People

carved image on a rock surface of a person with a bow and arrow

Petroglyphs may tell stories, mark events, be prayers, or simply represent symbols important to the ancient culture.

NPS/Marge Post

A favorite question asked by some visitors is, “Who discovered the Petrified Forest?” This question is tricky. Of course, people have known about the Petrified Forest for over 13,000 years, so it was discovered by nomadic hunters and gatherers, possibly those of the Clovis Culture. Some of the visitors who asked the initial question, say, “No, who discovered Petrified Forest?” The first publication about this place was from the Whipple Expedition of 1853, in a book by artist/naturalist Balduin Möllhausen. Whatever the question, people have explored Petrified Forest for a very long time.

People are what make archeological and historic places interesting. Who were they, what did they leave behind? Why did they go? Through examination of the physical remnants of ancient walls, artifacts, traces of roads, and even symbols on rock and paper help researchers pull together a story of the past. Petrified Forest National Park has a remarkably diverse and long human history.

Timeline to come...

Did You Know?

black on white pot sherds

Petrified Forest National Park has one of the most diverse collections of prehistoric pottery fragments in the Southwest.