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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
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
YCAAS Chapter Travelers at Long House Ruin in Mesa Verde. Photo by Flo Reynolds
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.
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.
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 $2.00 fee to enter the park (2015-2016).
(** Data from: The Willow Lake Site: Archaeological Investigations in Willow and Watson Lakes Park. Prescott, Arizona by Logan Simpson Design, Inc., 2006.)
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.
|Map below by Julie Rucker
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 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: http://portal.yln.info/?q=libraries
2016 Yavapai Chapter Meeting Topics