Spend Archaeology Day at Edge of the Cedars

Pottery collected at Edge of the City State Park in San Juan County is on exhibit at the park’s museum. Photo courtesy of Utah State Parks

Edge of the Cedars State Park and Museum will host the 2019 Archaeology Day as part of Utah’s Archaeology & Preservation Month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 4.

The day will celebrate the abundant history and significant archeological sites found in Utah’s southeastern desert.

“We want people to have the opportunity to understand the rich, cultural heritage of the area,” said Chris Hanson, the museum director and park manager. “By experiencing it, they can appreciate it and ultimately help to preserve it.”

Events are planned throughout the day, including craft and skill demonstrations and hands-on activities, such as weaving, pottery making, basketry, woodcarving and flintknapping, or making tools from flaked or chipped stone. The demonstrations will be taught by regional experts, including Chris Lewis of the Zuni, Master Potter John Olsen and Greg Nunn, said to be one of the greatest flintknappers in the world.

There will also be guided tours through the pueblo ruins at Edge of the Cedars. The park houses remains of a village once inhabited by the Ancestral Puebloan people, where visitors have the chance to climb down a ladder into a 1,000-year-old kiva, an underground chamber once used for religious rites.

Two lectures are planned throughout the day. The first will be presented at 11 a.m. by local archaeologist and photographer, Connie Massingale, who will discuss the use of red ochre throughout human history.

The second lecture will be presented in conjunction with the 2019 Four Corners Lecture Series. Richard Friedman, an expert in Geographic Information System Mapping will be speaking at 2 p.m. on using computer technology to help identify, document and visualize the landscape surrounding Chaco Canyon in the Four Corners region.

The canyon was occupied by the Ancestral Puebloan people and is famous for the well-preserved masonry architecture found there and Friedman’s research has produced stunning imagery of the area.

“We’re glad that we can help share the history of the region,” said Natalie Randall, director of tourism in San Juan County. “This is Utah’s canyon country, and it’s been inhabited for centuries. We’re always excited for that history to be explored.”

Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum is located at 660 W 400 N in Blanding. Admission for the Archeology Day event is free and open to the public, with food available for purchase.