Copper & Logging Grand Canyon - Passport in Time

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Previous Projects > States A-F
Historic Copper Mines and Logging Railroads Documentation near the Grand Canyon

Kaibab National Forest, Arizona, 2004
by Neil Weintraub, FS Archaeologist

The Kaibab NF Heritage Team hosted its 14th PIT project from May 2 to 8, 2004. This year, 14 volunteers camped at the Ten-X group campsite, located just a few miles south of the Grand Canyon. While our days were consumed with various archaeological projects, we also shared cooking and cleaning duties. We enjoyed a sunset and moonrise at Shoshoni Point on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Local PIT volunteer Brian Ciesielski held a pizza party in honor of the project at his “We Cook Pizza” restaurant just outside the park. Ross Gralia entertained us with his daily digital photography and music compositions each evening. 

While camp life preoccupied the early morning and evening hours, the primary focus of our work was centered at the historic Anita copper-mining camp. Because the Anita area was mined during a short period between 1900 and 1905, we decided to intensively record the camp to create a catalog of the historical-period artifacts from that time span. Neil Weintraub and volunteers used GPS technology to record the location of artifacts and building remnants. They drew artifacts and made sketch maps of structural foundations. During the day, one volunteer was responsible for entering all the data into the artifact database. Following the project, several PIT volunteers continued researching the site’s history. PIT volunteer Ryo Kiyan also georeferenced the 1900 General Land Office map and created a 3D Arc Scene video. The artifact database and GPS mapping of the Anita mining camp confirmed the occupation and historical accounts of copper mining in the area. The artifact database can now be used to date other historical-period sites in the Grand Canyon area. 

The Anita mining camp was a small component of our project. Four other Kaibab NF archaeologists led crews in accomplishing several other projects. Dan Sorrell’s crews used GPS units to map the condition of 10 miles of logging railroads. They also recorded an important prehistoric camp along Rain Tank Wash, a drainage that was also used as a Hopi and Havasupai trading route during the historical period. Melissa Schroeder’s crews surveyed and recorded five new prehistoric habitation sites, including a Late Pueblo II site, which is uncommon on the west side of the Tusayan District. Calla McNamee’s crews also recorded three new pueblos in an area where vandalism had occurred. They found no new evidence of damage. Russ Snyder’s crews spent the week in the Upper Basin on the far east side of the Tusayan District recording three multicomponent Pueblo and Navajo sites. One of the sites is a 1920s structure that may have been a trading post, near the edge of the Navajo Nation. These crews also monitored 24 sites, including Hull Cabin, pueblos, and rock art sites (recorded during our 1996 Tusayan Rock Art Recording PIT project). On the last day, crews conducted random transects surrounding the Anita camp and found six new archaeological sites that will warrant further investigation in a future PIT project. 

In all, the 14 PIT volunteers contributed an incredible number of hours, both in the field and on post-project research. While the heritage accomplishments were outstanding, the friendships made as a result of living, cooking, eating, and chatting around camp were far more valuable. For 14 years, the Kaibab has viewed the PIT program as our best tool for extending and complementing our Heritage Program responsibilities and for making new friends.

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