Archaeology Day, Saturday

03-Archaeology-Day-bannerOn Saturday, March 23, 2013, Grand Canyon National Park will host its sixth annual Archaeology Day celebration, commemorating Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month.  Special programs, activities and demonstrations will be 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 will feature opportunities for visitors to try their hands at making clay pinch pots and split-twig figurines; creating rack 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 will be cultural demonstrations of Hopi Kachina carving and basket making, as well as Navajo hoop dances and a weaving demonstration.  All activities are free of charge and family friendly and will take place between the hours of 10am and 4pm at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

Archaeology Day will conclude 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.”  This program will begin at 7:30pm at the Shrine of Ages Auditorium located on the South Rim near Parking Lot A.

Activities for Kids at Shrine of Ages Auditorium

Join the rangers at the Shrine of Ages to learn more about people who lived here long ago.  Family-friendly activities take place from 10:00am to 4:00pm

  • Make clay pinch pots
  • Make split-twig figurines
  • “Sift for artifacts”
  • Create rock art on scratch art paper
  • Plant a seed
  • Throw and atlatl

Rock Art on Bright Angel Trail

Special Archaeology Programs on March 23 & 24, 2013.

10am & 2pm, Friday, March 23
Museum Collection Tour
View split-twig figurines, pottery types and historic mining cache items.  Limit of 12 people.  Sign up required at Park Headquarters, 928.638.7888

11am, Saturday, March 24
Shrine of Ages Auditorium
Prehistoric Pottery Types of Navajo Land
Jason Nez, Park Archaeologist

1:30pm, Saturday, March 24
Shrine of Ages Auditorium
Across the Ages:  Images and New Discoveries in Grand Canyon Archaeology
Chris Downum, Anthropology Professor, NAU

3:30pm, Saturday, March 24
Rock Art Hike on Bright Angel Trail
Jason Nez, Park Archaeologist
Limit of 20 people.  Sign up required at Park Headquarters, 928.638.7888

Regularly Scheduled Ranger Programs – Saturday March 24
(With a focus on Archaeology)

9:30am Rim Walk, Verkamp’s Visitor Center Ethnobotany with Ty Karlovetz, Park Guide

11am Mather Point Talk, Mather Point Amphitheater with Becky Beaman, Park Guide

11am & 1:30pm Tusayan Ruins Walk, Tusayan Museum

2pm Porch Talk, Verkamp’s Visitor Center with Jennifer Onufer, Park Ranger

Evening Program Saturday March 24, 2012

Navajo Artist Shonto Begay

The park’s Master Artist-in-Residence (March 19-31, 2012) Shonto Begay, will present the recent work that he has created at Grand Canyon in an evening program artist talk.  A professional artist since 1983, Shonto spends his time painting and speaking to audiences of all ages.  His art has been shown in more than 50 shows in galleries and museums.  His impressionistic brushstrokes depict moments in time.  Shonto’s art balances the harsh realities of reservation life with the amazing beauty found among its people, canyons and mesas.

This free evening program takes place in the Shrine of Ages Auditorium at 7:30pm on Saturday March 24, 2012.

Shrine of the Ages is located at Parking Lot A near Park Headquarters.

Additional Programs During March (Archaeology Month), Shrine of the Ages Auditorium, 7:30pm.

Wednesday, March 21
Bridging the Gap: Finding the the Intersection of Park Management and Tribal Values
Jan Balsom, Deputy Chief of Science and Resource Management, and Janet Cohen, Tribal Liaison

Friday, March 23
Grand Archaeology: Exploration and Discovery along the Colorado River
Allyson Mathis, Park Ranger

Saturday, March 31
Rock Art of the Grand Canyon Region
Don Christensen and Jerry Dickey
Also at 1:30pm

Why do we celebrate Archaeology Day at Grand Canyon National Park?

Native people have lived in the Grand Canyon area for thousands of years and have left behind clues about their lives.  The oldest artifacts are from the Paleo-Indian period and are nearly 12,000 years old.  Did you know that Grand Canyon has over 4,300 archaeological resources with nearly 5% of the park surveyed?  This gives us just a glimpse into the vast human history of the area.

Hands-On activities for all ages will take place at Grand Canyon Visitor Center from 11am to 4pm on Saturday, March 24th.  Join a ranger to make a split-twig figurine, similar to artifacts that have been found in remote caves of the Grand Canyon.  These split twig figurines may resemble a deer, or perhaps a bighorn sheep, and are thought to be a hunting talisman.

You could also make a pinch pot out of clay and compare your work to thousand year old pots which were used for cooking, serving or storing food.  Obtaining and preparing food used to take a lot more time for people of the past than it does for us today.

If you want to pretend to be a modern archaeologist, you can participate in the artifact sifting activity.  When you find bits of evidence, perhaps you can discover what they are and what they were used for.

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