Archaeology along the Painted Desert: Current Research in Petrified Forest National Park

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

While Petrified Forest National Park has been the subject of archaeological research for over 100 years, intensive field research in the last five years has greatly expanded what we know about the prehistoric and historic occupation of the area. In 2004 Congress authorized a boundary expansion, effectively doubling the size of Petrified Forest National Park. These lands are slowly being purchased and added to the park. Initial cultural resource inventory projects are being conducted to begin to better understand what is out there. The results of survey in the boundary expansion have found a stunning density and diversity of archaeological remains. Archaeological sites spanning the last 13,000 years of human occupation have been identified, including most notably extensive preceramic sites and lithic landscapes, large Basketmaker villages, and a densely settled Puebloan landscape. This work has been coupled with an additional season of survey work in the park’s pre-2004 core to contextualize previous research with these new areas. Also, over the last five years the NPS has taken this opportunity to use the park as a teaching laboratory, bringing in graduate student research and an extensive internship program. This session presents an update of the recent archaeology in Petrified Forest.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-6 of 6)

  • Documents (6)

  • Building on an Archaeological Record: Preliminary Results of the Three-year Petrified Forest Boundary Expansion Survey (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William Reitze. Amy Schott.

    In 2004 Congress authorized Petrified Forest National Park to more than double in size, in part to protect unique cultural resources. This poster introduces the preliminary results of three seasons of pedestrian survey in these new lands. So far this research has recorded archaeological resources dating across the spectrum of the human habitation of North America, beginning with Paleoindian lithics and extending through the historic period. Sites ranging from lithic landscapes covering hundreds...

  • Early Pottery at Petrified Forest National Park (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Signe Valentinsson.

    Petrified Forest National Park is notable for the diversity of its ceramic assemblages which encompass several major ware groups. The earliest ceramics sequence saw one of the most dramatic shift in pottery production techniques at any time in the park, from the paddle and anvil, micaceous tempered Adamana Brown Ware, to the coil and scrape, sherds and sand tempered white wares and grey wares that dominate the rest of the park’s ceramics assemblages. This poster presents a characterization study...

  • Following the Shell Trail: Analysis of Prehistoric Shell at Petrified Forest National Park (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alexandra Covert.

    Shell jewelry at Petrified Forest National Park has been found from Basketmaker II through Pueblo IV. Since there are no local sources of marine shell, it is important to understand how trade routes from the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico directly affected how shell was traded to this region. Shell recovered from archaeological contexts curated in the Petrified Forest National Park collections were typed according to class, genus, and species and were sourced to the Gulf of California...

  • A History of Service: The Civilian Conservation Corps at Petrified Forest (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katrina Erickson. Melyssa Huston. William Reitze.

    Part of Roosevelt’s New Deal Program, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established in 1934 as a work relief program for unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 25. Designed to assist families during the Great Depression, the Corp members were paid $30 per month, $25 of which was sent back to help support their families. Up until its disbandment in 1942, multiple companies of these young men were stationed at Petrified Forest National Park (PEFO). Throughout their time at PEFO these CCC...

  • Landscape Importance In Northern Arizona: An Application of Ethnographic Voices and Quantitative Viewshed Analysis (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Cody Dalpra.

    The importance of landscapes has long been discussed in archaeology, yet this is an often overlooked line of evidence. Landscapes often have a primary role in Native American oral histories and stories. Humans in general have a tendency to attach strong social meanings to visually prominent landforms. Such meanings are embedded within cultural landscapes as networks of natural and constructed places are perceived and made meaningful by communities. The Colorado Plateau of Northern Arizona...

  • On the Road Again (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Selena Soto.

    National parks and their cultural identities have changed their meanings to visitors throughout time. The significance of national parks in the United States to visitors during the 19th and 20th centuries was to experience the nation’s heritage, admire natural resources, and/or gain monetary value. One method in understanding past visitors’ behaviors and how they viewed the significance of national parks is to analyze historic roads. Roads help determine the most frequented places whether for...