The high arid Colorado Plateau region of the American Southwest is world-renowned for its many well-preserved archeological resources. We may think first of excavations or arrowheads, but archeology involves a wide range of structures and objects - all the things used by past peoples in their daily lives. Archeologists study all these resources - from the smallest piece of pottery, to charcoal and food remains, to the rock and wood remains of large buildings - and the places where they are found, to learn more about the people who lived here and to connect their lives with ours. Through the findings of archeologists, people from times past can speak to us today.
What did people eat? Did they hunt wildlife? Gather plants and berries? Grow crops? Did they weave cloth? Trade with others? How long did they live? Were they healthy? Modern archeologists use both shovels and high tech tools to answer questions like these. Sometimes there are glimpses, through the artifacts left behind, of how a society functioned, or what its people believed.
It is up to all of us to preserve the archeological story. Each fragment, each stone structure is a unique piece of the past. Please leave them undisturbed.
Learn more in Archaeology and You, an introductory booklet by the Society of American Archaeology.
Read reports of research within Wupatki National Monument:
Origin of Cinders in Wupatki National Monument, by Jason A. Hooten, Michael H. Ort, and Mark D. Elson.
Did You Know?
The sites at Wupatki were first described by Lorenzo Sitgreaves during his expedition in 1851. Camping near Wupatki Pueblo, he recorded that the sites must have been the remains of a large town covering 8 or 9 miles, and that the pottery was thickly strewn over the ground.