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2 Ancient Villages Emerge in Arizona National Park

Dwellings built into sand dunes
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2014 2:20 PM CDT
2 Ancient Villages Emerge in Arizona National Park
This is an undated file photo of the Petrified Forest National Park, Ariz.   (AP Photo/National Park Service)

(Newser) – An ancient village has come to light in Arizona's Petrified Forest National Park—and it's the second such find in as many years. The villages are some 1,300 years old, dating from between 200 AD and 700 AD, ABC News reports. Archaeologists discovered homes dug into the ground known as pit-houses, built in sand dunes. Their floors and walls were lined with sandstone, Archaeology reports. Such accommodations exist elsewhere in the park; in these villages, however, they're clustered together, park archaeologist Bill Reitze says. Each village has "probably more than 50 structures," he notes, as Western Digs reports.

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The sites appear to be from a cultural era known as the Basketmaker period. Teams have also found tools and weapons made from petrified wood, shells, and ceramics, ABC notes. The findings come as the park doubles in size following an expansion enacted by Congress a decade ago. "There are not a lot of national parks that have the opportunity to get bigger like this to protect sites and produce future research," Reitze notes. "Because the park is doubling in size, we are finding something every day." (Another fascinating recent archaeological discovery: the remains of a mysterious "witch girl" found in Italy.)

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