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Archaeologists discover second ancient village in Petrified Forest

Archaeologists in Northern Arizona have uncovered a 1,300-year-old village inside Petrified Forest National Park.

It’s the second ancient village discovered in as many years at the park. Archaeologist William Reitze says the villages date back to between 200 A.D. and 700 A.D.

“What’s unique about these sites is that they’re probably between 50 and 75 different structures,” said Reitze. “At that time period, there’s not a lot of large habitation sites where there’s a lot of habitation structures at one place.”

Reitze said that the population of the most recent village found could have been up to 150 people. Tools and ceramics were found there.

“Stone tools like spear points or scrapers that are made out of the petrified wood that we see here at the park,” said Reitze. “We also see a lot of shell, which was traded in from the Gulf of Mexico. That shell was used to make ornaments and pendants and things like that.”

As for the ceramics that were found, Reitze said that they are, “How we date these sites. These are some of the earliest ceramics on the Southern Colorado plateau.”

The villages were discovered by crews that are surveying the land for an expansion project that will double the size of the park. The area is not open to the public yet.

“But one of the reasons that we’re doing these surveys is so that we can identify these sites out here in the boundary expansion and get these lands open to the public,” Reitze said.