Last week, while scrambling on a steep slope below the South Rim, I stumbled upon an amazing find. There in the dirt lie five hand-sized pieces of a broken ancient Anasazi pot. I was frozen in my tracks and the centuries melted away while I tried to determine how this lovely artifact reached this spot, and to grasp the significance of me chancing upon it.
I returned day’s later with park service archaeologist Ian Hough. Ian determined quickly that this rare find was indeed an Anasazi ceramic, molded and fired roughly nine hundred years earlier, and carried to this spot from Tsegi Canyon (modern day Navajo National Monument eighty miles to the east).
Upon closer inspection of the site, Ian found a carved bone pendant that likely hung from a prehistoric necklace. For documentation purposes he reassembled the pot and had me hold it aloft for his camera. Standing there for my closeup, hands mildly trembling, reverently displaying the intricately painted ware, was one of the most powerful moments I’ve spent in the Canyon.
We left the pot on the precarious ledge where I found it (or it found me), choosing not to interrupt its slow march down the Canyon walls and a merging with the dust of its maker.