The National Park Service (NPS) and the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) excavated nine archaeological sites along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon during three years of fieldwork. The NPS/MNA excavation project was the first major archaeological excavation to occur along the river corridor in Grand Canyon in nearly 40 years. The NPS has a “preservation-in-place” mandate, and excavates archaeological sites only when they cannot be stabilized and preserved in place. These sites were disappearing due to erosion; artifacts were literally washing into the river. Because these sites were being lost, the NPS initiated excavations to learn more about the people who lived here before the archaeological evidence of their lives in the canyon was completely gone.

Archaeologists excavated the sites, exposing them for a few days or weeks during which time these videos were taken. Immediately after excavation, the sites were reburied to protect them from further damage from exposure to the elements and possible damage from visitation. This video and the virtual tour (below) is now the only way to experience these places where people once lived.