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 We'll be glad to answer questions or add you to our email distribution list. Or you can send us 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 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.


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.


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 Bill Burkett to receive our meeting notices and other chapter news via email.

Smoki Museum Celebrates Amateur Archaeology
with Book and Exhibit

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 31, 2015.  


Yavapai Chapter Advisor Andy Christenson
Receives 2013 Professional Archaeologist Award

 Yavapai chapter advisor and 2013 Arizona Archaeological Society Professional Archaeologist Award recipient Andy Christenson.

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!  

Additional Yavapai Chapter Activities

Willow Lake Pit House Refreshes. 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 structures, uncovered prehistoric structures, open-sided ramadas were constructed over the sites. In the decade that followed, dirt and other debris collected in the pit houses.

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.

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

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 15, 2015 Harvey Leake The work of Mr. Leake's great-grandfather, Richard Wetherill, one of the earliest explorers of Southwestern archaeology.
February 19, 2015 Apache Elder Vincent Randall "Holy Sites and the Invisible Minority" The sale of sacred Apache tribal lands by the U.S. government, what it means for the Apache people and to other Native Peoples.
March 19, 2015 Archaeologist Peter Pilles

New information about the Honanki site near Sedona, illustrated by the site’s architecture, artifacts excavated from its well-preserved deposits,  and the rock art produced by the eight cultures that once lived at this most remarkable site. 

April 16, 2015 Betty Higgins The Sundown excavation conducted by the Yavapai chapter. Presented in conjunction with the Smoki Museum exhibit An Essential Relationship: Amateurs and Professionals in Central Arizona
May 21, 2015 Archaeologist David Wilcox TBD
June 18, 2015 Dana Oswald Dendrochronology and climactic data as it relates to prehistoric social disruption
July 2015 No Meeting   

August 2015

No Meeting   
September 17, 2015 Andy Christenson Strange Archaeology
 October 15, 2015 TBD
November 19, 2015 Dr. Todd Bostwick,

Director of Archaeology at Verde Valley Archaeology Center & Senior Research Archaeologist, PaleoWest Archaeology

December 17, 2015


Holiday Potluck Dinner

Chapter Officers


Office Holder

Contact Information


Julie Rucker

(completing the term of the late Barbara Moebius)


Vice President Julie Rucker


Treasurer Sue Ford


Secretary Bill Burkett


One-year Director Eileen Chalfoun


Two-year Director Florence Reynolds


Three-year Director Mark Millman


Archivist Ron Robinson


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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