Friday, March 19, 2010

Grand Canyon hosts special archeology day, March 27

On Saturday, March 27, 2010, Grand Canyon National Park will host Archeology Day in honor of “Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month.” Intended to help park visitors learn more about the people who lived in the area long ago and to gain a greater understanding of the work that archeologists do and what can be learned from their research, Archeology Day will feature a series of special activities at Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Make clay pinch pots and split-twig figurines, experience the thrill of the archeological find by “sifting for artifacts” then identifying what is found and hypothesizing what it was once used for.

The event will also include two special evening program speakers. On Friday, March 26th, Vanishing Treasures Archeologist Ian Hough will present “Extreme Cultural Landscapes: New Archeological Research in Grand Canyon.” On Saturday, March 27th, Park Guide Jennifer Onufer will share her experiences on an archeology trip down the Colorado River in “A River of Dramatic Change. Both programs will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Shrine of Ages Auditorium near Parking Lot A.

All Archeology Day activities and programs are being offered free of charge on the South Rim. All activities are also family friendly and, with the exception of the evening program, will be offered at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

For additional information on Archeology Day check out the park’s web site at

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Back country tour of Casa Grande--this month only

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is the country's first archaeological reserve, given that status back in 1892. While that may seem a few ages ago, the original settlers here, the Hohokam, made what the monument is today. Somewhere back in the 1200s, or so the scientific diggers tell us, these natives built structures out of caliche, or what contractors today would call hard pan.

While those who visit the monument on your average day will get a shot at viewing The Casa Grande, or "The Big House" as the Spaniards dubbed it, most of the year the actual back country of the monument is closed to public traffic. Not so this month: On weekend mornings through Sunday the 28th, park rangers will lead special tours of the back country to see such sites as the Prehistoric Ballcourt, Compound B, and an ancient roasting pit or “horno.”

If you'd like to get in on a tour, either show up or call the park at 520-723-3172.

National Park Service photo