Grand Canyon National Park to Host Archaeology Day on March 23, 2013

On 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.

Additional special evening programs focusing on archaeology topics will be held throughout the month of March.  For more information, call Supervisory Park Ranger Libby Schaaf at 928-638-7641.

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