Arizona Archaeological Society



Photograph from Petrified Forest National Park -  Image made on Spring Field Trip by Pete Lupescu (Story Below)


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. In addition, Prescott has two Sinagua pit houses located at Willow Lake that are supervised and docent-staffed by YCAAS.

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.

Chapter members gather on Mingus Mountain for a tour of Mescal Gulch - June 2016   Photo: Sandy Gauthier

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.

Here are a few of the recent trips that Flo has put together for us:

2013 – Hohokam site at Sears-Kay near Cave Creek that was followed by the hike up to the Upper Cliff Dwelling at Tonto National Park. In the fall, southwest and central New Mexico was the destination with visits to the Gila Cliff Dwellings followed by the Three Rivers Petroglyphs.

2014 – Three days were dedicated to exploring many sites at Chaco Canyon and Aztec Ruin.

2015 – Fall 2015, saw intrepid travelers filling four days with memories of Mitchell Springs and Wallace Ruin located near Cortez, Colorado. Both sites are on private property owned by archaeologists who are excavating remarkable Puebloan ruins. Beyond these two sites, Flo led her group to the Anasazi Heritage Center archives, Escalante Ruin, Yellow Jacket (a pristine and protected Anasazi site) and the Lowry Pueblo. The final day was given to the Long House Ruin on Wetherill Mesa in Mesa Verde National Park 

2016 Spring Field Trip

Flo Reynolds came through once again this year with a wonderful three-day trip to the Winslow/Holbrook area. We visited ROCK ART RANCH, PETRIFIED FOREST NATIONAL PARK, and HOMOLOVI RUINS STATE PARK.

ROCK ART RANCH  Flo Reynolds in hogan. (Photo: Julie Rucker)   Steep Entrance to Chevelon Canyon (Photo: Jim Hays)  

PETRIFIED FOREST NATIONAL PARK    Agate House  (Photo:Pete Lupescu)    Petrified Forest Landscape  (Photo:Julie Rucker)

HOMOLOVI RUINS STATE PARK   Hike at Homolovi II  (Photo: Jim Hays)   Homolovi Resident  (Photo: Julie Rucker)

June Field Trip - Mescal Gulch

On Mingus   Photo: Chris Cone

Bedrock mortar, cupules, and lithic (below)    Photos:  Sandy Gauthier

                                                                                 Graves with white limestone   Photo: Chris Cone


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.

Additional Yavapai Chapter Activities

Willow Lake Pit Houses.

View looking south east. Feature 2 in foreground and Feature 4 above near the top of the image to the right of center.
Feature two is a residence with entry facing east (upper center/left of image). Feature 4 is a smaller storage pit.

In 2015, over 700 visitors took advantage of the presence of docents at the site.

The Prescott area is home to an unusual number of historical sites of archaeological importance. One such site is the Willow Lake Pit Houses, supervised by the Yavapai Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society, and located on the north shore of Willow Lake in Prescott, AZ. Between 900 and 1100 A.D., it is estimated that nearly 800 people may have lived in an extended village on the site where the two pit houses that were excavated in 2002 and 2003 are located. The original people who lived in this area were part of the Prescott Culture, but the pit houses show influences from the Hohokam people who originated further south in the area of today’s southern Arizona.  It is known that people lived in this area over 10,000 years ago and there is evidence that populations shifted from time to time and trade routes connected people who lived far from the Prescott area. As new sites are discovered, there is more and more evidence of reciprocity and influence among people from diverse geographical locations.

At the Willow Lake site, there are two excavated dwellings protected by steel ramadas. One is a residence, generally rectangular in shape and about 24’ x 16’. The other is also a residence, but smaller (about 60% of the larger unit) and with an adjacent pit that was likely a storage space. During the excavation, various artifacts were discovered including ceramics (Prescott Gray, Wingfield Brown, Aquarius Orange, Hohokam Buff, and Deadman’s Black-on-gray), flaked stone, figurine fragments, tools, pendants, and bone fragments. In addition, cactus pollen was found in the storage pits. **

In 2015, there were three instances of vandalism at the pit house site. In each case, the actual damage was minimal, but any damage at all is unacceptable and very disappointing. City Police have investigated and there are ongoing discussions about ways to improve security. In April of 2016, new, brighter lights were installed by the city of Prescott.

The site is open to the public on Saturdays from 10 to noon with a YCAAS docent available for tours or as a source of information. If you prefer not to have a guide, there is ample signage to make a self-guided tour rewarding as well. There is no charge to visit and view the pit houses, but the City of Prescott charges a $3.00 fee to enter the park (2016). 

(** Data from:  The Willow Lake Site: Archaeological Investigations in Willow and Watson Lakes Park. Prescott, Arizona by Logan Simpson Design, Inc., 2006.)



To mitigate the effects of damages that occurred as a result of three acts of vandalism in 2015 and the contemporary occupation of rodents (ed: I wonder how we distinguish between the resident rodents and the human rodents who did the vandalism.), a team of volunteers from the YCAAS went to work on restorative measures at the Willow Lake Pithouses. The two sessions of the June 2016 workshop were led by Gay Kinkade, at which a total of eight chapter members removed organic debris and restored the three pit house features that are under the two protective ramadas on City of Prescott property. The participants are now familiar with re-mudding techniques and the weakened features have been repaired and stabilized. Many thanks are extended to Gay and Susie Kinkade, Warner Wise, Joann Read, Chris Cone, Jeff Martin, and Ken Bigolin for volunteering their time to preserve this important archaeological site. Chapter volunteers will continue to monitor the site and to open it for visitors every Saturday morning from 10 AM until noon, so that the public may learn about the Prescott Culture People who once inhabited this land.   (text by Julie Rucker with editor's comment in parenthesis)

Warner Wise and Julie Rucker at the pre-restoration evaluation.  Photo: Susie Kinkade

Gay Kinkade, workshop instructor, Pondering. Photo: Julie Rucker

Jeff Martin working on "organics."  Photo: Julie Rucker

Julie Rucker stabilizing a wall between two storage pits.  Photo: Joann Read

Julie Rucker, Gay Kinkade, Susie Kinkade, Ken Bigolin, and Joann Read under reception ramada.  Photo: Julie Rucker

Gay and Susie Kinkade, workshop leaders.   Photo: Joann Read




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 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. 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 to members 30 minutes before each monthly general meeting. The Yavapai Library Network (YLN Libraries) is a resource of linked libraries. Here, you will find the Smoki Museum Research Library listed.

Here is your starting point:


Watch this space for our soon-to-be-posted MEMBERS PHOTO GALLERY


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
Twin Arrows excavation
June 16, 2016 Scott Kwiatkowski
Fort Mountain
July 2016 No Meeting   

August 2016

No Meeting   FALL PICNIC

September 15, 2016 Sandi Lynch
Prehistoric Beasts
October 20, 2016 Chuck Adams
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 and Educational Coordinator
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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