WILLIAMS, Ariz. - On April 28, Kaibab National Forest heritage program employees conducted a petroglyph documentation class for members of the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department. During the hands-on training, Kaibab and NNAD archaeologists documented about 75 percent of the petroglyphs located near a recently-discovered Cohonina village site on the Williams Ranger District.
The archaeologists recorded 20 separate panels of petroglyphs with hundreds of individual images representing a variety of distinct design styles. The group, which included Kaibab employees Neil Weintraub, Mike Lyndon, Erin Woodard, and Mae Franklin, also monitored another nearby petroglyph site, which has remained undisturbed for 20-plus years.
All told, the four NNAD archaeologists contributed 32 hours of volunteer labor to the project while also receiving valuable training in site documentation. According to a letter from the NNAD supervisory archaeologist, Neomie Tsosie, "For everyone, this exercise was a useful introduction to Cohonina rock art and field recording methods." As part of the Kaibab National Forest's ongoing work with tribes, a special emphasis has been placed on this kind of joint training and collaborative field work.
The Cohonina village site was originally discovered during summer 2008 when a forest archaeologist was collaborating with fire managers on the proposed location of a dozer line associated with a wildfire. The Cohonina was a group of early people who arrived in today's Kaibab area around A.D. 700. The Cohonina lived in small groups, hunted game, gathered wild foods, and probably farmed in drainages.
When Kaibab archaeologists returned to record the Cohonina village site in 2009, they noticed hundreds of petroglyphs on a nearby cliff. Now, thanks to the recent combined effort of Kaibab and NNAD archaeologists, those petroglyphs have now largely been documented.