General Membership Meetings. Our Chapter meets on the third Thursday of each month (except July, August, and December) at 7:00 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.
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.
One of our trip leaders for the Chapter's September 2014 trip to Chaco Canyon was Charly Gullett, who has written two books about Chaco architecture.
Yavapai Chapter member Flo Reynolds closely examines roof work at Pueblo Bonito during a field trip to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Photo by Yavapai 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.
Want to learn more? Contact Chapter Secretary Bill Burkett 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 also have chosen to make a living from the activity.
This exhibit and associated book examine a roughly 90-year period of the relationships between some of the amateurs and professionals who have worked in the Prescott region of central Arizona. Three individuals who receive close attention are:
• J. W. Simmons, who was the first to identify the region as culturally different and to get professionals
• Franklin Barnett, who focused on excavating late pueblo ruins in the region; and
• Ken Austin, who took on a regional survey to document the numerous hilltop sites in the area.
All three of these amateurs worked with professionals, but also inspired additional researchers who carried on with their path-breaking work. Also explored are the archaeological societies in Prescott, particularly the current Yavapai Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society, which has been active in important salvage work and research for nearly four decades. The concluding chapter examines how amateurs have been leaders in archaeological work in the region and where we can expect contributions to come from in the future.
The Smoki Museum, 147 N. Arizona Avenue, Prescott, presents this important exhibit through May 32, 2025.
In the fall of 2013, the Yavapai chapter’s own Dr. Andrew L. Christenson was selected for the 2013 Arizona Archaeological Society (AAS) Professional Archaeologist Award
Andy's invaluable relationship with the Yavapai Chapter began in 1998. From the beginning, Andy has graciously dedicated service to the AAS, teaching, supervising projects, performing analyses, authoring reports, leading educational field trips, and contributing in numerous other capacities to the archaeological community. Currently, he works as an independent archaeological consultant and volunteers as curator of the Smoki Museum, in addition to serving as the Archaeological Advisor for the Yavapai Chapter.
Despite the demands of his professional activities, Andy always makes time for the Yavapai chapter, and is consistently helpful with everything from routine questions to major projects. The AAS is grateful to Andy for sharing his knowledge, all he has done, and all he continues to do to promote responsible archaeological activity that contributes to our understanding of the past. We are proud to know him and thankful for his support.
Andy has authored several books, most of which are available via the Prescott Public Library and the Yavapai Library Network. His latest book, An Essential Relationship: Amateurs and Professionals in Central Arizona Archaeology, is available at the Smoki Museum beginning December 6, 2014.
Congratulations, Andy, on this well-deserved recognition!
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.
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 fourth- through sixth-grade students, church groups, ATV riders, and Rotary clubs. Informational booths at local civic events have also served to reach our neighbors in the community.
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.
2015 Yavapai Chapter Meeting Topics