TxDOT is digging into the past at Palo Duro Canyon State Park where thousands of years of history is hidden beneath the surface. Archeologists from TxDOT will lead a week-long field investigation during the Texas Archeological Society’s (TAS) Annual Field School June 8 – 15, 2019.
The public is invited to attend the Archeology Fair to see what was discovered and engage in hands-on activities during on Thursday, June 13 from 4 – 8 p.m. at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
TxDOT’s work to create a safe and efficient transportation system means planning around the environment – including historic sites and structures. This work is regulated by federal laws to ensure the story and artifacts of these places are preserved in the public’s interest. While there is no road project at Palo Duro State Park, it has several archeological sites that are protected by law. TxDOT’s archeologists will lead a group survey and excavation to learn more about one of these sites. Their work is part of the Texas Historical Commission-approved outreach program to raise awareness about archeology in Texas.
Each year, TxDOT’s work accounts for the majority of archeological investigations around the state. The department routinely looks for archeological sites before constructing road and bridge projects – some 300 projects a year. On average, archeologists will excavate artifacts once a year, depending on the significance of the site.
TxDOT Archeobotanist Kevin Hanselka, PhD, is the director of the field school investigations, while Jason Barrett, PhD, serves as TAS president. The field school offers activities and learning opportunities for all ages, such as excavation techniques, survey methods, and laboratory work. Special training is available for newcomers and teachers. There are afternoon and evening workshops, educational programs and social activities.