Arizona Archaeological Society


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The Yavapai Chapter, based in Prescott, received its charter from the Arizona Archaeological Society in 1977, although both amateur and professional archaeologists have been active in the area since the late 1800s. From the beginning, chapter members have participated in serious scientific archaeological investigations, beginning with excavation at the Storm Site (located near Watson Lake) from 1977-1979. In total, the chapter has worked on 14 excavations and 5 rock art recordings in the Prescott area.

To contact us, send an email message to We'll be glad to answer questions or add you to our email distribution list. Or you can send us a note via postal mail at P.O. Box 1098, Prescott, AZ 86302.

General Membership Meetings. Our Chapter meets on the third Thursday of each month (except July, August, and December) at 6:30 p.m. in the Smoki Museum's Pueblo room, 147 N. Arizona Street in Prescott (the entrance is at the rear of the building). Presentations on various topics are provided by a wide range of professional and amateur experts on topics from both prehistoric and historic times. Anyone interested in the archaeology of our area is welcome.

Yavapai Chapter members learn about the Elden Pueblo from Coconino National Forest Archaeologist Peter Pilles.
Photo by Yavapai Chapter member Ron Robinson.

Field Trips. The Yavapai chapter also offers field trips, usually on the Saturday of the week following the general membership meeting. These trips offer outstanding opportunities to learn firsthand more about how prehistoric peoples lived through the artifacts and architectural remnants they left behind.  And that doesn’t even begin to cover the value inherent in experiencing the beauty of Arizona’s backcountry as few ever do. Very often, these field trips require hiking. Read our hike rating guide for details.

Additionally, once or twice a year, the chapter sponsors multiple-day field trips to sites of special interest. Recent extended trips have included excursions to several pueblos in New Mexico, Tonto National Monument, the Hopi reservation, and the Chaco Canyon region. Additional fees are often required for extended trips to offset the costs incurred.




Yavapai Chapter member Flo Reynolds closely examines roof work at Pueblo Bonito during a field trip to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Photo by Yavapai Chapter member Ron Robinson.


All our field trips are intended for members of the Arizona Archaeological Society and, particularly, of the Yavapai chapter. However, guests can sometimes be accommodated.


Ready to join the Yavapai chapter? Fill out this application and mail it, along with your dues payment, to the address on the form.


Want to learn more? Contact Chapter Secretary Charles Stroh to receive our meeting notices and other chapter news via email.

Members of the Yavapai Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society figure prominently in the Smoki Museum
exhibit and accompanying book about archaeology in Central Arizona.


Archaeology can be usefully viewed as the co-production of knowledge about the archaeological record through the efforts of both amateur archaeologists, working because they love what they do, and professional archaeologists, who may also love what they do but have been blessed to make a living from the activity.

Additional Yavapai Chapter Activities

Willow Lake Pit Houses. In 2002 and 2003, as part of the City of Prescott’s development of Willow Lake Park, professional archaeologists investigated prehistoric sites just north of the lake. To protect the sites which are uncovered prehistoric structures, open-sided ramadas were built over the sites. In the decade that followed, dirt and other debris collected in the pit houses.

Then, in the fall of 2013, Yavapai chapter members, with the support of city officials, undertook the task of cleaning and sharpening the definition of the pit houses. While not a new excavation, the project gave chapter members a fresh taste of hands-on archaeological work.

In 2015, over 700 visitors took advantage of the presence of docents at the site. Every Saturday, the pit houses are open to the public from 10-12 am with docents on site to give tours and answer questions. There is signage as well that describes each aspect of the site so your tour can be as fast or slow as you desire.

Yavapai Chapter member Dick Shilvock examines a plummet he uncovered while working at one of the Willow Lake pit houses.
Photo by Yavapai chapter member Bill Burkett.





Coyote Ruin Excavation and Report. A site northeast of Prescott Valley, dubbed the Coyote Ruin, was one of the first Prescott Culture sites to be investigated. Between 1998 and 2004, Yavapai chapter members surveyed and excavated the site, recorded rock art, and analyzed and wrote about the artifacts and features they found there. Work continued on the full report about the site, which was issued in 2014 as Number 39 in the Arizona Archaeologist series of publications from AAS.







Training and Certification. AAS and other organizations with which it is affiliated offer courses and programs designed to train members in archaeological practices and techniques. Programs that can lead to certification in specialized areas are also available from time to time. Warner Wise is the Yavapai chapter’s certification representative. Contact Warner for more information.


Public Outreach Programs. Two of the Yavapai chapter’s objectives are to "foster interest and research in the archaeology of Arizona and the Southwest" and to “encourage public understanding of and concern for archaeological and cultural resources." Our public outreach programs help accomplish these goals.


For example, chapter members, collaborating with the Smoki Museum, have worked with area Boy Scouts of America organizations to help scouts earn archaeology merit badges. Scouts attended educational sessions at the Smoki and ventured out to a Prescott-area prehistoric site to see how the knowledge they had gained would be put to work in the field. They even got a taste of traditional food, snacking on pemmican made of nuts, elk jerky, and agave nectar.



YCAAS member Bruce Pack demonstrates how to use an atlatl for Boy Scouts earning their Archaeology merit badges.


Additional public outreach programs have been targeted toward students, church groups, recreational groups, and service clubs. Informational booths at local civic events also serve to reach our neighbors in the community and the areas.


Chapter Library. The chapter maintains a specialized library of archaeology resources at the Smoki Museum. It is available to members 30 minutes before each monthly general meeting.


2016 Yavapai Chapter Meeting Topics

The Yavapai chapter meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month, except July, August, and December, at the Smoki Museum's Pueblo room at 147 N. Arizona Street in Prescott (the entrance is at the rear of the building).

Date Speaker Topic
January 21, 2016
Andy Christenson
Tour of Smoki Museum facilities, exhibits, library, and reciprocal benefits to Smoki and YCAAS from use
February 18, 2016 Spence Gustav
Archaeology in the Middle East
March 17, 2016 Mick Woodcock

Historical photographs of Prescott

April 21, 2016 Linda Ogo
Yavapai culture
May 19, 2016 Stewart Deats
Gray Fox excavation
June 16, 2016 David Read
On the Apache
July 2016 No Meeting   

August 2016

No Meeting   
September 15, 2016 Sandi Lynch
Prehistoric Beasts
 October 20, 2016 Chuck Adams
Red Rock Art Ranch
November 17, 2016 Kim Spurr
Topic not specified
December 2016


Holiday Potluck Dinner

Chapter Officers - 2016


Office Holder

Contact Information


Julie Rucker
Vice President Ken Bigolin

Treasurer Joann Read

Secretary Charles Stroh

One-year Director Bill Burkett

Two-year Director Eileen Chalfoun

Three-year Director Florence Reynolds

Archivist Chris Cone

Certification Rep Warner Wise

Advisor Andy Christenson


Local Museums

Museum Location Website
Smoki Museum 147 N Arizona Ave
Prescott, AZ 86301-3184
(928) 445-1230
Visitor Center
Sharlot Hall Museum 415 W Gurley St
Prescott, AZ 86301-3691
(928) 445-3122
Visitor Center


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