Ancient villages unearthed in petrified forest

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

petrified forest
The Petrified Forest is filled with natural beauty, ancient relics, and even older trees “frozen” in time. Park archaeologists continue making new discoveries.

In Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, where 225-million-year-old fossilized trees and animal bones fill 146 square miles, archaeologists recently uncovered two ancient villages dating from 200 AD to 700 AD.

“Finding smaller sites is pretty common but to find these larger sites with 50 to 75 structures is more unique,” said park archaeologist Bill Reitze. “That’s what makes it interesting and there are some really interesting things to learn.”

Recently, the park has doubled in size, thanks to an expansion approved by Congress a decade ago. This greater area has allowed scientists to make new finds, like the 1,300-year-old villages found in July and October. The numerous pit-houses that fill the villages were built into the sand dunes, and experts believe that 100-125 people lived in the communities.

Excavations have also unearthed shells, weapons made from petrified wood, and ceramics.

Images courtesy of National Park Service.