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Home National & State Parks Grand Canyon Free Exhibit Offers Insights into the Native Peoples Who Lived at the Grand Canyon

Free Exhibit Offers Insights into the Native Peoples Who Lived at the Grand Canyon

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Who were the people who lived at the Grand Canyon thousands of years ago? How did they survive? What did they do?

In a remarkable exhibit highlighting archaeological excavations that took place between 2007 and 2009 along the Colorado River, visitors to Grand Canyon National Park now through Sept. 7, 2011 will get a unique look at the Native American peoples who lived in the majestic canyon.

grandcanyon_kiva"Grand Archaeology: Excavation and Discovery along the Colorado River" is now open at Kolb Studio on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. This free exhibit will be on display daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through Sept. 7. The exhibit will then be on display at the Museum of Northern Arizona for one year starting from Oct. 1, 2011.

It uses interpretive panels, artifacts recovered during the excavation, representative tools the crews used during excavation, and an interactive virtual tour to tell the story.

The exhibit also focuses on what archaeologists learned about these people, and about the challenges of conducting archaeological research in the remote setting of the Colorado River at the bottom of Grand Canyon.

"This project provided some important insights into the prehistory of the river corridor," said Jan Balsom, Deputy Chief of Science and Resource Management. "Some sites were used repeatedly over a long period of time; others revealed evidence of prehistoric cotton cultivation, beautiful masonry work, and evidence of jewelry manufacture. Altogether, this project has greatly enhanced our understanding of the lives of the people who lived here in the past."

The Grand Archaeology project consisted of excavations at nine archaeological sites that were being impacted by erosion and could not be stabilized in place. The excavations were conducted cooperatively with the Museum of Northern Arizona and represent the results of the first major excavations in nearly 40 years in the park.

The Grand Archaeology exhibit is the result of collaboration between the National Park Service, Museum of Northern Arizona, and the Grand Canyon Association, the official partner of Grand Canyon National Park.

The National Park Service has a preservation mandate, making archaeological excavations uncommon and undertaken only when sites cannot be preserved in place. Excavation provided a rare opportunity for archaeological research in the park.

Balsom added, "We thought it was extremely important to share these findings with the public via an exhibit in Kolb Studio and at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Not only does the exhibit include some of the artifacts recovered during the excavation, it communicates what life was like for the people who lived along the river and the methods archaeologists use to learn about the past."

The excavation project was funded by park entrance fees through the Federal Recreation Lands Enhancement Act. Public outreach has been an integral part of the project since its inception.

For more information, visit the park's Web site at
www.nps.gov/grca .


 
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