Grand Canyon National Park Celebrates Archaeology Day

Young visitor enjoys Archaedology Day.

Young visitor learning how to sift soil from an archaeological site during Grand Canyon's Archaeology Day.

NPS photo by Michael Quinn

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On Saturday, March 23, 2013, Grand Canyon National Park hosted its sixth annual Archaeology Day celebration, commemorating Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month. Special programs, activities and demonstrations were held at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center throughout the day, with a special evening program at the Shrine of the Ages.

Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month was created 30 years ago to inform the public about archaeology in the state of Arizona. In Grand Canyon National Park alone, over 4.300 archaeological sites have been recorded to date, and archaeologists 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 Archaeology 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 archaeologists do and what can be learned from their research.  The event featured opportunities for visitors to try their hands at making clay pinch pots and split-twig figurines; creating rock art using scratch art paper; sifting for artifacts; and planting corn, beans and squash seeds - traditional foods of the park's native peoples. Additionally, there were cultural demonstrations of Hopi Kachina carving and basket making, as well as Navajo hoop dances and a weaving demonstration. 

Archaeology Day concluded with a special evening program by Ellen Brennan, Grand Canyon National Park's Cultural Resource Program Manager entitled "My Eyes Were Opened: Historical Memory and the Canyon's Traditionally Associated Tribes." Additional special evening programs focusing on archaeology topics wereheld throughout the month of March.