Thursday, June 21, 2012

Edge of the Cedars State Park

Cow in the road

As we left Hovenweep and drove back to Blanding, we encountered this cow who watched us nonchalantly from the road.  The cow didn't show any signs of moving any time soon, so we snapped a photo and drove around the animal and went on our way.  Our next destination was Edge of the Cedars State Park, which features a nice museum and a short, paved walkway around some excavated ruins.  

Effigy at the museum

We began our visit at the museum.  Many Anasazi (Puebloan) artifacts are on display.  This Pueblo II animal effigy is an interesting piece of ancient pottery.

Example of San Juan Redware

I found these red-colored pots, called San Juan Redware, to be very interesting.  I couldn't help wondering if the people who inhabited the ruins we visited near Bluff made this type of pottery.  The coloration was striking compared to the Anasazi black and white pots with which I was more familiar.

Anasazi (Puebloan) figurines.

I found the Anasazi figurines to be more primitive in style than examples I have seen of Fremont figurines.  Of course, these are just a few samples, and more detailed Anasazi figurines may exist somewhere.  However, I was happy that I could see clear differences between the two.  

Examples of Anasazi pottery

The museum contains many wonderful examples of pottery and textiles that have been excavated and conserved.  You can see Anasazi sandals as well as the pots and figures.  There are samples from the Pueblo I, Pueblo II, and Pueblo III periods.  I was impressed with the collection at this place.

Interactive area for children.

Kids can climb around and handle objects in an interactive area at the museum.  When we visited, it looked like the museum was in the process of adding to this area and developing more hands-on experiences for visitors.  

Interpretive signs at Edge of the Cedars.

The Edge of the Cedars site was occupied from about 852 AD to 1125 AD. Archaeologists have determined that buildings were remodeled and added on to over the years.  Signs like the one pictured above help you see the progression of the development of the site.  Only a small portion of the area has been excavated.  Off the paved sidewalks you can see mounds that cover other parts of the ruins.  Once you have finished looking around the interior of the museum, venture outside to see the ruins.

Ruins at Edge of the Cedars

We walked around the ruin at the Edge of the Cedars on paved sidewalks.  It is very accessible.  On the walk, we enjoyed seeing very large beetles flying around, and found a fuzzy caterpillar rapidly inching its way across the cement.  As you circle the ruins, you will come to a 1000 year old kiva which you are allowed to enter.

Kiva entrance at Edge of the Cedars

We climbed down the ladder into the dark space of the kiva.  Kivas are common in Anasazi construction, and can be connected to other buildings via a tunnel, as we saw at the Mule Canyon Ruin.  Kivas were communal areas, and used for ceremonial purposes.

Kiva interior - Edge of the Cedars

I greatly enjoyed my time at Edge of the Cedars!

If you go:  You can visit the museum and walkway at the Edge of the Cedars in a couple of hours.  It is located in Blanding, Utah. We followed the signs from Highway 191 to the museum.  It is not hard to find.  There is a fee for admission. The museum is closed on Sundays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year's.  All other days it is open from 9am to 5pm.

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