GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - On March 23, Grand Canyon National Park will put on its sixth annual Archaeology Day celebration, commemorating Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month. The park is offering special programs, activities and demonstrations throughout the day at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, with a special evening program at the Shrine of the Ages.
Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month was created 30 years ago to enlighten the public about archaeology in the state of Arizona.
In Grand Canyon National Park alone, archaeologists have recorded more than 4.300 archaeological sites to date, and 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 use 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 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 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, family-friendly and will take place between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.
Archaeology Day will conclude with a special evening program by Grand Canyon National Park's Cultural Resource Program Manager Ellen Brennan. The program is called, "My Eyes Were Opened: Historical Memory and the Canyon's Traditionally Associated Tribes." This program starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Shrine of the Ages Auditorium located on the South Rim near Parking Lot A.
Additional special evening programs focusing on archaeology topics will take place throughout the month of March.
More information on Archaeology Day, including a full schedule of events once available, and special park programs happening throughout Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month, are available at the park's website at www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/arch_day.htm or by calling Supervisory Park Ranger Libby Schaaf at (928) 638-7641.