The cultural resources in the Kanab area represent a long and significant history of use by both Native Americans and European pioneers.  The earliest prehistoric archaeological sites are from the early Archaic period which dates to about 6,000 BC.  These hunters and gatherers practiced a wide-ranging mobile life that continued up until the Formative Period (AD 1 - 1250) when agriculture was adopted.  Small farmsteads occupied by an ancestral puebloan group, known to archeologists as the "Virgin Anasazi", are found over much of the area.  The puebloan culture disappears from the archaeological record about AD 1300 but is quickly replaced with a more mobile group known as the Paiute.  The Southern Paiute practiced a mixed economy and extended their influence over much of southern Utah, northern Arizona, and southern Nevada; today, their lands adjoin those of the Kanab area along the Utah-Arizona border.

Petroglyph panel in southern UtahThe first serious archaeological investigations in the Kanab area began in 1915 and were carried out by Neil Judd of the Smithsonian Institution.  Archaeological work on public lands of the Kanab area continued off and on until 1975, when the Bureau of Land Management began a program of actively managing and protecting archaeological sites.  The BLM considers archaeological sites to be "cultural resources" and has systematically conducted inventory and excavation to identify, protect and mitigate damage to these resources.  Native Americans consider both archaeological sites as well as their settings in which they occur to be an important part of their heritage.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 served to protect archaeological sites from looters until 1976 when the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) was passed.  ARPA authorizes the BLM to issue permits to conduct legitimate archaeological research; it prohibits the disturbance of sites and the collection of artifacts including pot sherds, chipped stone and projectile points from them.

South Fork Indian Canyon pictographsIf you are interested in viewing archaeology in the Kanab area, you may visit:  the South Fork Indian Canyon Pictograph site near Coral Pink Sand Dunes; the Red Cliffs Site at Red Cliffs Campground near Leeds, or Anasazi State Park in Boulder, Utah.  Avocational groups active in the area include:  The Dixie Chapter of the Utah Statewide Archaeological  Society in St. George and the Arizona Archeological and Historic Society in Fredonia, Arizona.  Both have active archaeological programs and hold monthly meetings.