From the Desk of an Archeologist
Humans have been living and working in the Painted Desert for the last 13,000 years. Petrified Forest National Park protects hundreds of significant archeological sites. The record of human occupation ranges from small single-room field houses to villages where hundreds of people lived. Phenomenal rock art sites are scattered throughout the park. Ongoing archeological research by park archeologists and partners is aimed at developing a better understanding of how people hunted, farmed, and lived in this seemingly harsh environment. By studying these sites and the artifacts they contain—like pottery and stone and bone tools—archeologists can get a picture of the past lives of the inhabitants of Petrified Forest. The ongoing expansion of the park has added almost unlimited research potential to help answer these questions. A continuing research effort is underway to locate, study, and interpret the archeological history of newly added portions of Petrified Forest National Park. Research over the last three years has found hundreds of new archaeological and historic sites and dozens of new and exciting rock art sites.