Write-up by: Morgan Robinson
Placed By: Natural History Museum of Utah
GPS Coordinates: 37.9107959, -111.4238112
Historical Marker Text: Garfield County, Combs Village Site, 50 Years Natural History Museum of Utah, Natural History Markers of Utah, 2020, nhmu.utah.edu/Garfield
The Combs Village is an old Native American historical site that contains building ruins from the Anasazi people. The Anasazi people, now known as the Ancestral Puebloans, and Fremont people show evidence of occupying this territory. There is historical evidence of both groups being here and there are many artifacts at this site that represent both of these groups. One explanation for this is that this could have been a trade center for Native American people in 1075. Overall historians at the University of Utah have claimed that this site was primarily a settlement for the Ancestral Puebloans that was used as a trading hub for the rest of the surrounding Native American communities.
The Ancestral Puebloans lived and worked in the dwellings at the Anasazi State Park. Some of the buildings were used as living quarters while others were used as storage rooms. There is also an Ancestral Puebloan pit house at this site. Pit houses were used for religious proceedings. These people were agriculturally based people, “they grew corn, beans, and squash.”  They also, grew, “wild seeds and grains [that] were ground into flour using a mano and metate.”  Furthermore, they created pottery that served many different purposes. The museum also displays artifacts that depict game playing, hunting, and participating in religious ceremonies at the site.
When the Ancestral Puebloans left this site, “about 160 years after the village was established, […] much of the village was burned.”  They moved away from the original site where they had settled and burned their entire village when they left. This site went hundreds of years before being discovered again but in 1976, this site was named to the National Historic Registry. Since being discovered, archeologists have excavated and searched the site and found many of the artifacts that were used to establish our current knowledge of the site and the people that lived there. Visitors will find the remanent of the dwellings the Ancestral Puebloans lived in backed up against modern architecture. Visitors will also see a museum with many artifacts that were discovered at the site just in front of the actual dwellings.
The museum at the Anasazi State Park has many artifacts that show the ways in which the ancestral Puebloans lived. They have pots, arrowheads, a shoe, ladles, bowls, basket fragments, pieces that were used to play a game, and more artifacts in the back of the museum with information about these different artifacts. The “new Anasazi State Park will be dedicated at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 19” according to a newspaper article in the Garfield County Newspaper in 1997. They held events prior to the dedication ceremony in order to celebrate this momentous occasion. Currently, this site is run by the Utah State Parks. Over many years, they have offered, “Utahns of today and tomorrow a chance to learn about Utah’s ancient people and their culture.”  Overall, the museum and the ruins at Anasazi State Park highlight a very important time period in America and especially in Utah history.
For Further Reference:
“Explorer Corps Marker: Garfield County.” Natural History Museum of Utah, 10 June 2021.
Smith, Shelley J., et al. “The Anasazi People.” Intrigue of the Past: Investigating Archaeology, Utah Interagency Task Force on Cultural Resources, Salt Lake City, UT, 1992, pp. 72–79.
“Whiterocks Named to National Historical Registry.” Vernal Express, 29 Jan. 1976, pp. 14–14.
“New Anasazi Museum Will be Dedicated on Saturday,” Garfield County News, 17 April 1997.