Arizona Archaeological Society

 

 
 

 

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 ycaassecretary@gmail.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.

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.


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 


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.



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.

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.

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.

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

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

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Holiday Potluck Dinner
 

Chapter Officers - 2016

Office

Office Holder

Contact Information

President

Julie Rucker

jpgallery@cableone.net
Vice President Ken Bigolin
kabigolin@gmail.com

Treasurer Joann Read
joannread68@gmail.com

Secretary Charles Stroh

charlesstroh@yahoo.com

One-year Director Bill Burkett

wburkett@yahoo.com

Two-year Director Eileen Chalfoun

echalfoun@prescott.edu

Three-year Director Florence Reynolds
gfreynolds@cableone.com

Archivist Chris Cone
conecj@yahoo.com

Certification Rep and Educational Coordinator
Warner Wise warnerwise@cableone.net

Advisor Andy Christenson alchristenson@cableone.net

 

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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