The celebration of Nine Mile Canyon at USUE’s Prehistoric Museum drew some 40 people to learn about the excavation at Cottonwood Village. The village includes a Fremont pit house that has been excavated the past two fall seasons with 70 youth assisting in the dig. Montgomery Archaeological Consultants is the lead for the excavation and is assisted by the museum, several area archaeological associations and Arizona State University as the lead contractor to the Bureau of Land Management – Price Office.
The celebration included a discussion of the pit house site and its possible uses by Jody Patterson of Montgomery and Tim Riley, curator of archaeology at the museum. William Brant from the BLM provided an overview of the project and Christine Vogt from ASU described the public engagement by area youth and local groups. John McHugh, a fifth grade teacher from Sandy, Utah at Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, provided a teacher’s perspective of the positive impact a weekend in the dirt can give a young teen. An archaeology club in his school has formed under his leadership and the Nine Mile Canyon project affords youth a real experience being citizen archaeologists. Besides a fall excavation, McHugh also brought six students to USUE’s lab to begin the process of reviewing and cataloging items found in the pit structure.
Most of the public who attended the event had visited Nine Mile Canyon in their lifetime while two of the groups at the event had participated in the fall excavations. Six groups would like to participate in future work in the Canyon or at the museum. Many learned about the recent event and overall program on Facebook. To learn more about the program, visit the website ninemilevolunteer.weebly.com and join the Facebook group “Nine Mile Canyon Archaeology Volunteering.”