Arizona Archaeological Society








The San Tan Chapter formed in May 2008 and was formally chartered as a member of The Arizona Archaeological Society on October 4, 2008. The Arizona Archaeological Society is an independent nonprofit corporation. Members are eligible to participate in field trips, excavations, surveys, lab work, and other areas of archaeological interest.   Each member also receives a copy of the annual publication of the Society, The Arizona Archaeologist, together with the monthly newsletter, The Petroglyph. The San Tan Chapter meets at 6:00 PM and the presentation starts at 6:30 PM, this happens on the second Wednesday of each month September through May, at the San Tan Historical Museum located at 20435 S Old Ellsworth Rd, Queen Creek 85142.  Monthly meetings are free and open to the public. 

We encourage you to pay membership fees directly to the San Tan Chapter by check or cash.  This enables the STC to receive its portion of the dues in a timely manner.  Fees are used for guest speakers, group activities, and our annual potluck.

To get a copy of the membership form click below and a copy will be downloaded to your computer.

Click here for Membership Form


                                                  Giving back to our Community

Thanks to all the Participants & Volunteers for stepping up to make this event FUN & Educational         

            Learning about the past through Archaeology

  Archaeology Expo Queen Creek, Arizona -- Hosted by the San Tan Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society

3rd Annual Event Completed April 6, 2024. It was a Fun, Friendly, Free unique Learning Opportunity and Experience.

2024 Participants

S.A.L.T. - an organization whose goal is to understand, practice, and share life skills and arts of the ancient world. This is accomplished by regular Skills Meeting. A list of skills/demos such as flintknapping, jewelry making, shell etching, cordage, friction fire to name a few.  For more on SALT visit

 SALT is planning on setting up an ATLATL area behind the Museum, find out what it is and try it out.

Maricopa County Parks - Nikki Bunnell San Tan Mountain Regional Park Ranger.

Make a Mini Adobe Brick  : led by Jim Britton - An Avocational Archaeologist 

San Tan Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society - crafts/displays such as make your own Petroglyph or Pictoglyph, try out the ancient Pump Drill , view a Pit House Diorama, view arrow heads and pot sherds.  Make a Husk Doll Figure, mini gourd mask, learn about Shell Etching.

The Story of Cotton - Maggie Dawqley displays/samples

Textile Weaving -  Gail Biesen

Teepee Display and grind corn on Metate/Mano. Learn how to start a Fire using a Bow Drill-    Mari & Dalen Townsend

Pinal County Historical Museum -Executive Director Stephanie Joyner shares information on Florence , Az

Safe Hiking in the DesertWilson Allen 

Pottery Making using Air Dry Clay -Peter Huegel

San Tan Historical Society - Kitty DeSpain  Museum Gift Shop 

Arizona Site Stewards : led by John Dawley.   The Arizona Site Steward Program is an organization of volunteers, in partnership with public land managers of Arizona (US Forest Service, AZ State Lands, BLM, and other jurisdictions), whose members are selected, trained and certified by Arizona State Parks & Trails (ASPT). The chief objective of the Stewards Program is to deter the theft of antiquities and report to the land managers any destruction or vandalism of prehistoric and historic archaeological and paleontological sites in Arizona through site monitoring.



"A Hopi archaeologist reflects on the discipline: Science Moab speaks with Lyle Balenquah about Indigenous perspectives on archaeology"

"How Pottery Offers Glimpses Into Ancient Foodways"

"A Hopi farmer works to sustain corn-growing traditions in the face of a changing climate"


Chapter Officers

 2020 Office  Office Holder Contact Information
President Marie Britton

Treasurer Jim Britton 
Secretary Judy Ritter

Director1/Program Director Carlos Acuña 

Director2/ Dave Goldman
Director3/Archivist Keith Johanson
Membership Marie Britton

Archaeological Advisor Chris Loendorf

Speaker Schedule




Join one of our meetings for a closer look at:

San Tan Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society

Learn about Arizona Prehistory and More!

Meet Professional Archaeologists! Participate in field trips and workshops

Meetings are free and open to the public

The Second Wednesday of each month

September through May,  meet at 6:00 p.m. with presentation starting at 6:30 p.m.

We meet at the San Tan Historical Society Museum

(The Historic Rittenhouse School)

Southeast Corner of Ellsworth and Queen Creek Roads




 SE AZ Culture Periods     SW Agricultural Cultures    ASM SW Cultural     AZ 5 Prehistoric Cultures    Pueblo Periods

Quick Content Links:

 Get Out and Enjoy/Experience Arizona

Recommend Books to Read


Old Is New

Events/Field Trips






Archaeological Parks and Prehistoric Native American Ruins of Central Arizona

Platform Mounds of the Arizona Desert

Tonto Basin

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Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

" ... Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed writing, technology, government, and organized religion—as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war—and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history."

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Images of the Past by T. Douglas Price & Gary M. Feinman

" survey of prehistory captures the popular interest, excitement, and visual splendor of archaeology as it provides insight into the research, interpretations, and theoretical themes in the field. "

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Digging into History by Paul S. Martin  Published by: Chicago Natural History Museum 

"Digging into History is a popular account of the excavations of Martin and associates in the Pine Lawn Valley, New Mexico, and neighboring areas.  It is this and more.  A very good account for the layman, it also offers a distillation of Martin's reflections on the social implications of the archaeological data gathered through fifteen years of digging.  It is a thoughtful postscript to a long series of reports.

The contents fall easily into two general parts.  The first contains background information;  the hows and whys of archaeology, and the time and space framework of Southwest Archaeology.  Martin's prologue presents the background for the American Indian cultures.  Migration of Asiatics to America if followed by Southwestern and Mexican occurrences of the Paleo-Indian big game hunters.  The Desert Culture basis of the Cochise sequence, and the importance of its gathering economy in the transition to the agriculture of the Cochise-derived Mogollon Culture are porttrayed."

--- copied from The University of Chicago Press Journals

Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes of Past

"In Archaeology from Space, Sarah Parcak shows the evolution, major discoveries, and future potential of the young field of satellite archaeology. From surprise advancements after the declassification of spy photography, to a new map of the mythical Egyptian city of Tanis, she shares her field’s biggest discoveries, revealing why space archaeology is not only exciting, but urgently essential to the preservation of the world’s ancient treasures.

Parcak has worked in twelve countries and four continents, using multispectral and high-resolution satellite imagery to identify thousands of previously unknown settlements, roads, fortresses, palaces, tombs, and even potential pyramids. From there, her stories take us back in time and across borders, into the day-to-day lives of ancient humans whose traits and genes we share. And she shows us that if we heed the lessons of the past, we can shape a vibrant future."

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"I Am the Grand Canyon is the story of the Havasupai people. From their origins among the first group of Indians to arrive in North America some 20,000 years ago to their epic struggle to regain traditional lands taken from them in the nineteenth century, the Havasupai have a long and colorful history. The story of this tiny tribe once confined to a toosmall reservation depicts a people with deep cultural ties to the land, both on their former reservation below the rim of the Grand Canyon and on the surrounding plateaus.

In the spring of 1971, the federal government proposed incorporating still more Havasupai land into Grand Canyon National Park. At hearings that spring, Havasupai Tribal Chairman Lee Marshall rose to speak. “I heard all you people talking about the Grand Canyon,” he said. “Well, you’re looking at it. I am the Grand Canyon!” Marshall made it clear that Havasu Canyon and the surrounding plateau were critical to the survival of his people; his speech laid the foundation for the return of thousands of acres of Havasupai land in 1975.

I Am the Grand Canyon is the story of a heroic people who refused to back down when facing overwhelming odds. They won, and today the Havasupai way of life quietly continues in the Grand Canyon and on the surrounding plateaus."

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The Mind In The Cave by David Lewis Williams

"Emerging from the narrow underground passages into the chambers of caves such as Lascaux, Chauvet, and Altamira, visitors are confronted with symbols, patterns, and depictions of bison, woolly mammoths, ibexes, and other animals.

Since its discovery, cave art has provoked great curiosity about why it appeared when and where it did, how it was made, and what it meant to the communities that created it. David Lewis-Williams proposes that the explanation for this lies in the evolution of the human mind. Cro-Magnons, unlike the Neanderthals, possessed a more advanced neurological makeup that enabled them to experience shamanistic trances and vivid mental imagery. It became important for people to "fix," or paint, these images on cave walls, which they perceived as the membrane between their world and the spirit world from which the visions came. Over time, new social distinctions developed as individuals exploited their hallucinations for personal advancement, and the first truly modern society emerged.

Illuminating glimpses into the ancient mind are skillfully interwoven here with the still-evolving story of modern-day cave discoveries and research. The Mind in the Cave is a superb piece of detective work, casting light on the darkest mysteries of our earliest ancestors while strengthening our wonder at their aesthetic achievements."

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Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills edited by David Wescott

"Have You Ever Longed To Return To A Past Where Humanity's Greatest Concern Was Survival, When Our Hands Created Life's Necessities, When The Land's Raw Provisions Were The Materials With Which We Created Warmth, Shelter, Food, and Tools--A Time Before We Lost Our Bond With The Wilderness? Primitive Technology Helps Build A Bridge Between The Ancient Past and Our Modern Lives, Putting Us In Touch Again With Nature and Ourselves. This Volume--A Selection of Articles Within The Bulletin of Primitive Technology--Portrays The History, Philosophise, and Personal Journeys of Authorities On Primitive Technology, Imparting Skills That Built The Success of Mankind. From Views On Primitive Technology and "New" Archaeology To Making Fire and Tools of Bone, This Book Is Informative and Enlightening"                                         --- copied from

House of Rain - Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across The American Southwest by Craig Childs


Naturalist and NPR commentator Childs (Soul of Nowhere, 2002, etc.) chronicles his research trips following in the footsteps of a native population that flourished, then mysteriously disappeared, in pre-Columbian America.

His subject: the Anasazi, ancestors of today’s Hopi. These Southwestern hunters and farmers lived in some of North America’s most unforgiving terrain, blisteringly hot and dauntingly arid, yet they developed a rich culture that survived hundreds of years and multiple migrations. The author travels along those migratory routes, pursuing the Anasazi over a period of years with many different companions, including his wife, infant son and stepfather, as well as various archaeologists and a few modern-day desert-rats. He battles fire, infernal summer temperatures, brutal winter cold and wind. Water tends to be either absent or overabundant; at one point, he allows a flash flood to transport him, sans clothes, downstream to his destination. He begins at Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico and meanders through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and northwest Mexico, where his quest ends in a recently plowed field choked with potsherds hundreds of years old. The author has interviewed (and frequently traveled with) numerous authorities on the pottery, geology, architecture and agriculture of these enigmatic people. His text is rich in geographical and archaeological detail about raising corn, breeding macaws, beheading turkeys and more. Childs considers conventional thinking, then weighs in with his own theories, earned the old-fashioned way, by walking tough terrain to sites untouched for centuries. Evoking these places where people ground corn, procreated, celebrated and slaughtered one another, he displays surpassing curiosity and profound reverence.  "

Hidden Scholars:Women Anthropologists and the Native American Southwest by Dr. Nancy Parezo

Women scholars, writers, curators, and philanthropists have played important roles in the study of Native American cultures of the Southwest. For much of the twentieth century, however, their work has been overlooked. The essays in this book, which grew out of the landmark conference known as Daughters of the Desert, help to rectify the appropriation, erasure, disparagement, and invisibility that many women anthropologists have suffered.
A number of essays are biographical or intellectual histories, such as Parezo on Matilda Coxe Stevenson, Hieb on Elsie Clews Parsons, Babcock on Ruth Benedict, Lamphere on Gladys Reichard, and Lange on Esther Goldfrank. Others provide an overview of women archaeologists (Cordell), philanthropists (McGreevy), and popular writers (Tisdale). Still others assess the contributions of women to a particular subfield, such as Sand on the Yaquis and Hinton on women linguists. This volume goes beyond celebration, however, to provide a critical contribution to anthropological history.                                                                                           --- copied from

The Lost World of the Old Ones by  David Roberts

"For more than 5,000 years the Ancestral Puebloans—Native Americans who flourished long before the first contact with Europeans—occupied the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. Just before AD 1300, they abandoned their homeland in a migration that remains one of prehistory's greatest puzzles. Northern and southern neighbors of the Ancestral Puebloans, the Fremont and Mogollon likewise flourished for millennia before migrating or disappearing. Fortunately, the Old Ones, as some of their present-day descendants call them, left behind awe-inspiring ruins, dazzling rock art, and sophisticated artifacts ranging from painted pots to woven baskets. Some of their sites and relics had been seen by no one during the 700 years before David Roberts and his companions rediscovered them.

In The Lost World of the Old Ones, Roberts continues the hunt for answers begun in his classic book, In Search of the Old Ones. His new findings paint a different, fuller portrait of these enigmatic ancients—thanks to the breakthroughs of recent archaeologists. Roberts also recounts his last twenty years of far-flung exploits in the backcountry with the verve of a seasoned travel writer. His adventures range across Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado, illuminating the mysteries of the Old Ones as well as of the more recent Navajo and Comanche.

Roberts calls on his climbing and exploratory expertise to reach remote sanctuaries of the ancients hidden within nearly vertical cliffs, many of which are unknown to archaeologists and park rangers. This ongoing quest combines the shock of new discovery with a deeply felt connection to the landscape, and it will change the way readers experience, and imagine, the American Southwest.  "         --- copied from

Wolfkiller: Wisdom from a Nineteenth-Century Navajo Shepherd

recorded by Louisa Wade Wetherill / compiled by Harvey Leake

"Fascinating history and compelling storytelling make Wolfkiller, the memoir of a Navajo shepherd man who lived in the Monument Valley region of the Southwest, a page-turning epic. In these stories compiled by Harvey Leake, Wolfkiller shares the ancient wisdom of the Navajo elders that was passed to him while a boy growing up near the Utah/Arizona border. Wolfkiller's story was recorded and translated by pioneer trader Louisa Wade Wetherill, an unlikely pairing that came together when she moved to this remote area of southern Utah in 1906. Wetherill recognized that Wolfkiller was a man of exceptional character, with lessons and wisdom of the Navajo that deserved to be recorded and preserved for the benefit of future generations.

Over the course of many years, Wolfkiller told his stories to Wetherill who translated them into English. When the manuscript was completed in 1932, modern society was simply not ready for it. Rejected by publishers, the document languished in the family archives until today, long after Wolfkiller and Mrs. Wetherill were gone, it can now be recognized as a unique and profound book that speaks to modern culture's compulsive rush away from nature.

Included are photographs of Wolfkiller and the Wetherills, all taken from about 1906 to 1926. More than forty other historical photographs are also included.

"If Mrs. Wetherill could be persuaded to write on the mythology of the Navajos, and also on their present-day psychology-by which somewhat magniloquent term I mean their present ways and habits of thought-she would render an invaluable service. She not only knows their language; she knows their minds. . . ." Theodore Roosevelt, after visiting the Wetherill trading post in 1913 " --- copied from

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Native American Inventions

Projectile Point Analysis of American Southwest


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WHAT'S OLD IS NEWS: ( source; various )

Archaeologist discovers Copper Arrowhead in the Yukon Territory

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           The San Tan Chapter meetings are held at the San Tan Historical Society Museum at 20425 S Old Ellsworth Rd in Queen Creek                               



February 14, 2024  M. Kyle Woodson, Ph.D.     Director of the Gila River Indian Community’s Cultural Resource Management Program in Sacaton, Arizona.

Topic : "This Native American Tribe Is Taking Back Its Water"

Clip On Link Below:

March 13, 2024 Dr. Shelby J. Tisdale Retired Director, Center of Southwest Studies Tucson, Arizona

Topic: No Place For A Lady: The Life Story of Marjorie F. Lambert

Brief Overview of “No Place for a Lady: The Life Story of Archaeologist Marjorie F. Lambert”

April 10, 2024    Dr. Gary Huckleberry -Adjunct Research Associate and Lecturer at the University of Arizona

Topic: Ancient Water Management In The Arizona Desert

May 8, 2024       Dr. Amber VanDerwarke - U.C. Santa Barbara  Integrative Subsistence Laboratory Director

  Topic:  A New Locus for Avocado Domestication in Mesoamerica: Evidence for 8,000 years of human selection and tree management at El Gigante, Honduras

Schedule:   September - December 2024

September 11 , 2024   Dr. Christopher Schwartz Archaeology Group Manager at Terracon Consultants

Topic:  "Scarlet Macaws in Southern Arizona - Like the Other Macaws but Different"

" Christopher W. Schwartz, Steven Plog, and Patricia A. Gilman’s long-term study of scarlet macaws (Ara macao) and other parrots in the southwestern United States and Mexican northwest revealed surprising results. Scarlet macaws recovered from Chaco Canyon and the Mimbres region are very closely related genetically, they all ate mostly corn, and were raised in the areas where they were recovered, i.e., at Chaco or Mimbres. Chris will discuss new DNA, isotope, and radiocarbon data from southern and central Arizona, along with isotopic data from Wupatki. The data compiled to date are consistent with the conclusion that the macaws through time and across space in the Southwest were genetically closely related, ate corn, and were locally raised.  Even so, past people used and interacted with the macaws differently in various parts of the Southwest, and very differently from people living hundreds of miles away in the scarlet macaw’s distant homeland of eastern and southern Mexico. The discussion provides implications of this new research and how it fits with what was learned previously about scarlet macaws. "

October 9, 2024     Dr. Sarah A Lacy has recently joined the anthropology faculty at the University of Delaware. Her research is on oral and respiratory health in Neanderthals and early modern humans, and ultimately tries to address questions about how these two hominin groups competed and survived in their changing environments and with each other. Her recent work with her collaborator, Dr. Cara Ocobock of the University of Notre Dame, explores the lack of evidence for gendered/sexed roles for most of human history and how female anatomy and physiology supports reconstructions for their active participation in big game hunting activities.

Topic:   "Woman the hunter: On gender roles and physiology in human evolution"


"The Paleo-fantasy of a deep history to a sexual division of labor, often described as “Man the Hunter and Woman the Gatherer,” continues to dominate the literature. We see it used as the default hypothesis in anatomical and physiological reconstructions of the past as well as studies of modern people evoking evolutionary explanations. However, the idea of a strict sexual labor division in the Paleolithic is an assumption with little supporting evidence, which reflects a failure to question how modern gender roles color our reconstructions of the past. Here we present examples to support women's roles as hunters in the past as well as challenge oft-cited interpretations of the material culture. Such evidence includes stone tool function, diet, art, anatomy and paleopathology, and burials. By pulling together the current state of the archaeological evidence along with the modern human physiology presented in the accompanying paper (Ocobock and Lacy, this issue), we argue that not only are women well-suited to endurance activities like hunting, but there is little evidence to support that they were not hunting in the Paleolithic. Going forward, paleoanthropology should embrace the idea that all sexes contributed equally to life in the past, including via hunting activities.  "

November 13, 2024   Dr. Cyler Conrad    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)


Topic:  "Five Ways Native American Communities Honor Turkeys , Some Indigenous peoples in the U.S. Southwest have a long relationship with turkeys, which they use for their feathers, eggs, meat, and more.

Cyler Conrad joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in June 2023. Receiving his PhD in anthropology (archaeology) from the University of New Mexico in 2018, Conrad is currently a cultural resources environmental scientist within PNNL’s Risk and Environmental Assessment group. His work focuses on supporting environmental analyses and reviews for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, while also conducting environmental-based research at PNNL.

Working in California, New Mexico, Thailand, and Laos, Conrad has over a decade of experience in archaeological and environmental compliance and research. His published research primarily focuses on examining long-term, human-animal, and human-environmental interaction in the past and present. For example, by understanding how anthropogenic impacts resulted in dietary shifts and extinctions in Galapagos tortoises, or by understanding how pre-contact Indigenous peoples in the American Southwest managed their domesticated turkeys.

Conrad uses a wide range of techniques, including his specialty in archaeology called zooarchaeology—animal bone and shell identification and quantification—stable isotopes, radio isotopes, scanning electron microscopy, and various elemental and mineralogical analyses for his research. Between 2020 – 2023 he led a Laboratory Directed Research and Development project at Los Alamos National Laboratory that investigated the bioaccumulation and signatures of anthropogenic radionuclides in long-live fauna, especially turtles, tortoises, and sea turtles from nuclear sites.

Dec.11, 2024                        Dr. Chris Loendorf Senior Project Manager Gila River Indian Community (GRIC)

Topic: TBD



Schedule:  January - May, September - December  2025

January:  8, 2025  Douglass R. Newton has been an Arizona Site Steward for 32 years. He started in 1992 and had one site, the Eagletail petroglyph site which requires a hike of 4 miles to get to the site and is in a BLM wilderness area.  Doug obtained a master’s degree in plant biology at Arizona State University.   His thesis was to gather a flora of the plant species growing in the Eagletail mountain area.  As an Arizona Regional Site Steward, he has responsibility for two regions, the Tonopah region and the Central region.

Topic: Prehistory of the Eagletail Mountains 

"The Eagletail Mountains Wilderness is located 75 miles west of Phoenix just south of Interstate 10. It covers portions of Maricopa, La Paz, and Yuma counties.  Fifteen miles of the Eagletail Mountains' rough ridgeline runs right through the northern section of this Wilderness, including 3,300-foot Eagletail Peak which rises from a low point of 1,100 feet within the Wilderness boundaries. Cemetery Ridge lies along the southern border. Geology buffs can examine several distinct rock strata throughout these mountains, and everyone can marvel at such geologic wonders as natural arches, high spires and monoliths, jagged sawtooth ridges, and numerous washes between six and eight miles long. Courthouse Rock, a huge granite monolith, stands over 1,000 feet above the desert floor near the northern border and attracts technical rock climbers. Between the two main ridges stretches a vast desert plain of ocotillo, cholla, creosote, ironwood, saguaro cactus, barrel cactus, Mormon tea, mesquite, and sand. Summer temperatures rage and send up thermals upon which raptors ride as they scan the landscape for a desert rodent snack. The great horned owl and the coyote live here, but they keep themselves well hidden from backpackers, campers, and horseback riders. Temperatures can be as low as 30° Fahrenheit from December through January and can reach above 115° Fahrenheit from June to September. Precipitation generally ranges from 2 to 4 inches per year. Rainfall, which can occur at any time of the year, is often preceded by strong and sudden windstorms. Watch for cloud build up and be aware of possible flash flooding in washes and drainages."  from

February:  12, 2025   Dr. William E. Doolittle is the Professor Emeritus- Erich W. Zimmermann Regents Professor in Geography and the Chairman of the Department of Geography at The University of Texas at Austin. He received his  PhD 1979 University of Oklahoma, Geography and Archaeology. Dissertation research in Sonora, México. Four books and dozens of articles and chapters.

Topic:  “A Biography of the Safford Valley Grids Project.”

Based on the book The Safford Valley Grids: Prehistoric Cultivation in the Southern Arizona Desert Volume 70 written by James A. Neely and William E. Doolittle.


Abstract: A project born of happenstance, prevarication, perfect timing, and little cost, the story of the Safford Grids Project is one of humor, friendship, collaboration, and productivity. The results are known, but the back story isn’t. This talk is a personal account of how several factors came together resulting in a book that answered a question that mystified archaeologists for a century.

"Crisscrossing Pleistocene terrace tops and overlooking the Gila River in southeastern Arizona are acres and acres of rock alignments that have perplexed archaeologists for a century. Well known but poorly understood, these features have long been considered agricultural, but exactly what was cultivated, how, and why remained a mystery. Now we know. Drawing on the talents of a team of scholars representing various disciplines, including geology, soil science, remote sensing, geographical information sciences (GISc), hydrology, botany, palynology, and archaeology, the editors of this volume explain when and why the grids were built.Between A.D. 750 and 1385, people gathered rocks from the tops of the terraces and rearranged them in grids of varying size and shape, averaging about 4 meters to 5 meters square. The grids captured rainfall and water accumulated under the rocks forming the grids. Agave was planted among the rocks, providing a dietary supplement to the maize and beans that were irrigated on the nearby bottom land, a survival crop when the staple crops failed, and possibly a trade commodity when yields were high. Stunning photographs by Adriel Heisey convey the vastness of the grids across the landscape".**** from

March:  12, 2025   TBD

April:  9, 2025   TBD

May: 14, 2025   Dr. Aaron Wright Preservation Anthropologist, Archaeology Southwest

Topic:  “Great Bend of the Gila”

Aaron Wright is a Preservation Anthropologist with Archaeology Southwest, a Tucson-based non-profit organization dedicated to studying, protecting, and respecting the Southwest’s rich archaeological landscape.  Aaron’s research is currently focused on the Hohokam and Patayan traditions across southwestern Arizona. He is specifically interested in the cultural landscape of the lower Gila River, which is renowned for a unique mixture of Patayan and Hohokam settlements, dense galleries of world-class rock art, and numerous enigmatic geoglyphs. Aaron is the lead researcher on Archaeology Southwest’s long-term goal of establishing a Great Bend of the Gila National Monument. In that effort, Aaron has collaborated on a cultural resource study of the area’s significance, as well as a cultural affiliation study outlining the ethnohistory and contemporary tribal connections to this remarkable landscape. *source Archaeology Southwest

"The Great Bend is an extraordinary nexus of natural, cultural, geological, and historical significance that has shaped much of the Southwest’s history and heritage.

As a national monument, the public lands of the Great Bend of the Gila would be protected in a way that recognizes their importance to Tribes, their cultural and historical values, and the role of these lands in species survival, combating climate change, and redressing water scarcity. A monument designation also opens the door for co-stewardship of the land between federal agencies and Tribes.

The stretch of river valley and surrounding desert between the cities of Phoenix and Yuma, Arizona, constitutes a fragile landscape that also serves as a backcountry recreation area for tourists and nearby residents. Protecting the Great Bend of the Gila also means protecting the recreation and economic opportunities for the region.

The Great Bend of the Gila will play a pivotal role in the future of the region in several interrelated ways. Preserving open space will sustain natural vistas and the scenic quality of the West Valley while also protecting the habitat and habitat connectivity that desert-dwelling animals such as bighorn sheep, Sonoran desert tortoise, mule deer, and javelina require for survival.

It’s time to permanently protect this inimitable, enduring, yet surprisingly sensitive landscape as a national monument. Although there are laws protecting cultural heritage on federal lands, permanent protection will help better enforce these laws. Given their historical and ongoing ties to the land, Tribes should have a strong voice in how this land and their legacies on it are managed in perpetuity." * 



Schedule:  January - May, September - December  2023

January:  11, 2023   Dr. Jarrod Burks, PhD, Director of Archaeological Geophysics Ohio Valley Archaeology Inc.


Topic: Re-discovering Ohios earthworks from about 2000 years ago

He is currently the President of the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy and conducts the geophysics and remote sensing work.

"Many of the ancient architectural sites around Ohio have been nearly erased from the landscape at the hands of modern development and agricultural activities. Though their embankment walls may have stood over ten feet high and extended for miles, many are now only barely visible to the unaided eye.

However, these sites are still valuable archaeological resources that can provide science with crucial clues to the nature of the mysterious ancient cultures who built them. Modern archaeological technology can detect the foundations of these structures under ground. The positions of walls and mounds can be precisely located with such instruments as magnetometers, electrical resistance meters, ground-penetrating radar, and LiDAR, without any excavation whatsoever. " taken from Heartland Earthworks Conservancy

February 8, 2023   Thomas O. Mills Manager Hopi Cultural Center 1970 - 1974 years Second Mesa, Arizona Hopi Reservation.  Retired now living in North Carolina.                              ---VIDEO CONFERENCE PRESENTATION        

Topic : The Hopi Creation Story

Thomas O. Mills had the opportunity to manage the Hopi Cultural Center at Second Mesa, Arizona for four years when it first opened in the early 70's.  He has a deep respect for the Hopi People and believes their Creation Story can be proven.

In his first book, The Book of Truth, A New Perspective On The Hopi Creation Story, he traces the Hopi story back to Egypt and puts new light on the murals, temples, and pyramids from that point of view, a view that rings true today.  If correct, his theory pinpoints to location of many new underground chambers and the tome of Spider-women, the Hall of Records.

In his second book, Stonehenge, If This Was East, Mills uses his knowledge of the Hopi Ceremonial Cycles to find ancient east at a number of unexplained ancient sites around the world.  He then uses this knowledge to find north and compares north to Charles Hapgood's four North Pole locations in the past 100,000 years with amazing results - thus dating the sites and proving the Hopi Creation Story.

" "Who would have thought that we would live to see the day when the polar ice caps would melt; that earthquakes would affect earth's rotation, that Islands would sink beneath the sea's, and that we would fight wars with unmanned drones? Only the Hopi." "

March 8, 2023     Adrianne Rankin Barry Goldwater Airforce Range (BMGR) Archaeologist

Topic: Prehistoric and Historical Period Agricultural Strategies in the Western Papagueria: Archaeological and O'odham

Adrianne Rankin is an Air Force archeologist with the 56th Range Management Office, which administers the land and airspace at BMGR. "We work closely with 15 indigenous tribes who lived in or crossed through the area. The BMGR East is the ancestral homeland of the O'odham: the Hia-Ced O'odham (Sand People), Tohono O'odham (Desert People) and Akimel O'odham (River People).  Most of the cultural resources on the Barry M. Goldwater Range are prehistoric archaeological sites situated on the desert landscape, rather than historic buildings," Rankin added.  Although the range was set aside for bombing and gunnery practice, the Air Force takes special precautions to prevent damage to culturally and historically significant sites within its boundaries.  "The cultural preservation program manages a range of ongoing projects," Rankin said. "Our overall effort is to look at target arrays and try to identify archeological sites to de-conflict archeological sites and mission needs."

text taken from the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (

April 12, 2023   Dr. David Martinez   Assoc Professor, American Indian Studies Arizona State University

Topic : "My Heart Is Bound Up With Them " : How Carlos Montezuma Became the Voice of a Generation

Carlos Montezuma is well known as an influential Indigenous figure of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. While some believe he was largely interested only in enabling Indians to assimilate into mainstream white society, Montezuma’s image as a staunch assimilationist changes dramatically when viewed through the lens of his Yavapai relatives at Fort McDowell in Arizona.

David Martínez offers a critical new lens to view Montezuma’s biography and legacy. During an attempt to force the Fort McDowell Yavapai community off of their traditional homelands north of Phoenix, the Yavapai community members and leaders wrote to Montezuma pleading for help. It was these letters and personal correspondence from his Yavapai cousins—George and Charles Dickens—as well as Mike Burns that sparked Montezuma’s desperate but principled desire to liberate his Yavapai family and community—and all Indigenous people—from the clutches of an oppressive Indian Bureau.

David Martínez (Akimel O'odham/Hia Ced O'odham/Mexican) is Professor of American Indian Studies. He is the author of Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought, editor of The American Indian Intellectual Tradition: An Anthology of Writings from 1772 to 1972 , author of Life of the Indigenous Mind: Vine Deloria Jr and the Birth of the Red Power Movement, and author of My Heart Is Bound Up With Them: How Carlos Montezuma Became the Voice of a Generation (The University of Arizona Press, 2023). His publications have appeared in the American Indian Quarterly, the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Studies in American Indian Literatures, and Journal of the Southwest. Currently, Martínez is working on a history of the Hia Ced O'odham, titled Elder Brother's Forgotten People: How the Hia Ced O'odham Survived an Epidemic to Claim a Place in Arizona's Transborder History.

May 10, 2023    Zaro Guerrero from Arizona Humanities

Topic:  Our River Stories: The Gila and the Salt

Join Zarco for a series of stories that share the vibrant and tragic history of water and the River People, over a 2,000 year period. Beginning with the Toltec trade route that brought agriculture and corn to the Southwest. The history of the O’Odham before and after the expansion west is revealed. We learn about the Yaqui Indians who fled persecution and found refuge in Arizona rebuilding the ancient canal system. A descendant of the first Mormon settlers tells his families’ story of finding an oasis in the desert given to them by God and their determination to tame the mighty Salt River. Our story culminates when an endearing elderly woman shares the hope that there still is to protect our water resources and to right the wrongs committed against the land and its River People.

As a sculptor, muralist, storyteller and performance artist Zarco has dedicated his career to creating positive social change through the arts. Born in Arizona, he has been instrumental in the development of Latino Arts statewide. His art has been exhibited in Mexico and throughout the United States. He has received international acclaim, and awards, such as a National Endowment for the Arts Japan Fellowship, a Governor’s Arts Award, a Zony Award, became the Southwest Folklife Alliance Master Artist, and has been awarded grants for artistic projects by The Doris Duke Foundation, Valley Metro and Arizona Community Foundation. Visit

September 13, 2023  Andrew Vorsanger Cultural Resources Team Lead - Phoenix SWCA Environmental Consultants

Title: Results of Archaeological Investigations at Locus 2 of AZ U:10:69(ASM) after a 20-Year Pause

The Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority (PMGAA) proposed to develop a portion of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (Airport). This proposed development would affect Locus 2 of site AZ U:10:69(ASM), a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)–listed archaeological site. The site is a Hohokam village occupied from the Colonial period through the Classic period. Locus 2 of the site was previously tested to identify subsurface archaeological features by Dames & Moore in 1997 and 1999, but was not subjected to full excavation of those features because the locus was outside of anticipated runway improvements at that time. In 2021, the PMGAA retained SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) to develop and implement an archaeological data recovery plan, based on the results of the previous Dames & Moore testing, and prior to proposed Airport improvements that would impact the Locus.

This data recovery resulted in the excavation of three pit house structures and two extramural thermal features. No human remains or burial features were encountered. The excavated features at Locus 2 were occupied by the Hohokam during the Sedentary period (A.D. 950–1150), likely from the mid- to late Sedentary period. The excavated features indicate that Locus 2 likely supported a small familial group that specialized in craft production. Significant erosion through time has removed the topsoil of the area, destroying many archaeological features in the upper portions of the soil and displacing many of the artifacts. Across the entire site, areas have been identified that contain remnants of artifacts and large roasting features, suggesting that larger Hohokam occupations once existed at the site during the Classic period but have since been destroyed.

Andrew has served as a project manager and field director for numerous cultural resource projects throughout the Southwest, including Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. He has worked on projects such as transmission lines, solar farms, telecommunication towers, hazardous vegetation removal, and data recovery. Andrew has conducted more than 100 cultural resource projects (survey, testing, monitoring, and data recovery) requiring compliance under Section 106/110 of the NHPA, applicable state and local antiquity and preservation laws, and regulations pertaining to cultural resources under the National Environmental Protection Act. These projects, primarily conducted for industries such as mining, energy, transportation, and community planning, have provided the opportunity to work with a number of private interests as well as various state and federal agencies including the ACoE, BIA, BLM, BOR, DOD, DOE, USFS, USFWS, and various Native American tribes. He is proficient with multiple GPS platforms and ESRI GIS applications. Previous academic training has included Human and hominin osteological analysis, isotopic analysis of indigenous Madagascar hair samples, and statistical analysis of phytoliths from the Southeast United States.

October: 11, 2023  William (Bill) Iseminger (Retired) Assistant Manager at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site Collinsville, Illinois


This presentation will cover the previous cultural traditions and the rise, fluorescence and demise of Cahokia, the largest prehistoric settlement north of Mexico, and discuss the many significant site features and results of past and current archaeological research as well as the development of the world-class Interpretive Center

Bill earned his BA in Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma and his MA at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.  His archaeological experience includes projects in South Dakota and in Illinois, including excavations and surveys at Dickson Mounds, Kincaid Creek and the lower Kaskaskia River Valley.  He has worked at Cahokia Mounds since 1971 and for years led public field schools in excavations on the Stockade, Woodhenge, and Mound 50.  He recently retired as Assistant Site Manager in charge of exhibits, interpretations, public relations, and intern programs.  He has written extensively about Cahokia Mounds and archaeology: his books include Cahokia Mounds: America's First City and Understanding Artifacts of Illinois and Neighboring States.

November:  8, 2023   Janine Hernbrode a retired science administrator and curriculum writer, has spent 16 years recording rock art within 30 miles of Tucson, primarily among the sacred sites of the Ancestral O’odham people.

Topic: Petroglyph Patterns and Bell Rocks at Ancestral O'odham Sites

Janine Hernbrode is an independent rock art recorder and researcher based in and working near Tucson, Arizona. Wary of becoming relentless quantifiers through rock art recording, she and her research partner, Dr. Peter Boyle, worked together to collect and analyze data obtained from their recordings of Tumamoc Hill (a three-year project of the Archaeological and Historical Society and the University of Arizona), the Sutherland Wash Rock Art District (a six-year project for the Coronado National Forest), Cocoraque Butte and Cocoraque Ranch (a five-year project for the Bureau of Land Management, the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society, and the private owner of Cocoraque Ranch). Peter and Janine demonstrate that ethnographic and linguistic information can suggest links to both sacred landscapes and some motifs found in rock art. Janine is the Leader of the Rock Band, a group of volunteer rock art recorders whose work was honored by the State Historic Preservation Office. Janine and the Rock Band currently are working to inventory and record the rock art in the Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park as part of an effort to understand the variety of sites in a portion of the Avra Valley.

photo from University of Arizona

December:  13, 2023   Richard Gonsalves President of the Agave House Chapter in Heber/Overgaard of the Arizona Archaeological Society

Topic:  Recent Finds: "Emerging Stories in Petroglyphs"  ---ZOOM PRESENTATION

No one really knows what the Petroglyphs mean but some meanings are coming out.  Petroglyphs  in the American Southwest tell many stories from Astronomical to Cultural and some with connections to the Aztec and Chinese.

Growing up in Snowflake AZ, Richard has always enjoyed the outdoors.  He has hiked and picnicked in  Norhern Arizona his whole life and has always wondered what the Petroglyphs were all about.  He is currently the President of the Agave House Chapter in Heber/Overgaard of the Arizona Archaeological Society.  He is now retired and is able to spend more time looking for Petroglyphs and the meanings.

January:  10, 2024  John D. Speth is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor (Emeritus) of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan.

Topic : Imagine you are invited to a dinner which turns out to consist of absolutely rotten meat, crawling with maggots."                                                           ---ZOOM PRESENTATION BROAD CASTING FROM THE MUSEUM

"Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God." (Deuteronomy 14:21)

John D. Speth

University of Michigan


Imagine you are invited to a dinner which turns out to consist of absolutely rotten meat, crawling with maggots. Already a hundred yards before you reach the dining place you are overwhelmed by the horrific stench. You are disgusted, your hold your nose and your face becomes distorted, and you turn your head away from the offensive odor. You can barely stand the smell, and just the thought makes your stomach start to churn. The moment you enter, you see the disgusting seething mess, turn instantly, and flee as fast as you can, hoping not to wretch on your way out.

Now compare that scenario with the following observation made by Henry Landor in the early 1900s in the lowland Congo Basin: "My men, for instance, who were simply bursting with lavish good food all the time, saw that day a big rodent, a nduta, about as big as a cat in its normal condition, but in this case, owing to its decomposed state, swollen to the size of a small pig. They immediately swerved the canoe towards it. When the floating animal came alongside the stench was such that it made me quite ill. I was nearly choked. Unable to speak or breathe, I was trying to signal to my men not to touch it and to get away, but in a moment the putrid beast was hauled on board and, in less time than it takes to write about it, it was eaten. The odour when they dug their knives into it was enough to kill the strongest of men. When I recovered, my admiration for the digestive powers of these people was intense. They were smacking their lips and they said the nduta had provided most excellent eating" (Landor 1907:80–81).

Before you jump to the wrong conclusion, eating totally rotten meat, often raw and maggoty, and considering it delightfully smelling and absolutely delicious, was nearly universal everywhere except in Europe and in the major Westernized colonial centers like Cairo, Cape Town, Delhi, and so forth. In fact, rotten meat and fish remained sought after foods in many parts of the world right up to WWI and even beyond, when Westernization more or less eliminated the practice as "primitive" and unsanitary. More striking yet, over the last 3,000 years or so, the aversion to rotten meat is found largely within the Judeo–Christian tradition.

What then about all that modern science that tells us we will die of botulism if we eat rotten meat? Consider the quote given above from Deuteronomy. Obviously, in Old Testament times not eating carrion was to keep one pure and holy in the eyes of God, not a matter of health or food safety. Western science has conflated biology with the power of culture. What began thousands of years ago as a quest to achieve purity in the eyes of God, today has morphed into an endless "war against germs." In the process, we have so altered our gut flora that we no longer have any immunity to pathogens like botulism.

 John D. Speth is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor (Emeritus) of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He completed his BA in Geology at the University of New Mexico (1965) and his PhD in Anthropology at Michigan (1971). Dr. Speth studies prehistoric hunter–gatherer and small-scale farmer diets and foodways, the way these societies coped with food shortages, and their settlement and mobility strategies. Largely through the study of animal bones, he also explores the nutritional basis of Plains–Pueblo interaction in the Southwest, and Neanderthal hunting strategies in the Near East. Dr. Speth's books include: Living and Dying on the Periphery: The Archaeology and Human Remains from Two 13th–15th Century AD Villages in Southeastern New Mexico (with Jamie L. Clark, 2022, Utah); Zooarchaeology and Modern Human Origins: Human Hunting Behavior During the Later Pleistocene (with Jamie L. Clark, 2013, Springer); The Paleoanthropology and Archaeology of Big-Game Hunting: Protein, Fat, or Politics? (2010, Springer); Human Paleoecology in the Levantine Corridor (with Naama Goren-Inbar, 2004, Oxbow); and Bison Kills and Bone Counts: Decision Making by Ancient Hunters (1983, Chicago). A few of his recent papers include: "When Did Humans Learn to Boil?" (PaleoAnthropology, 2015); "Paleoindian Bison Hunting on the North American Great Plains—Two Critical Nutritional Constraints" (PaleoAnthropology2020); "Putrid Meat in the Tropics: It Wasn't Just for Inuit" (with Eugène Morin, PaleoAnthropology, 2022).

Februray 14, 2024  M. Kyle Woodson, Ph.D.     Director of the Gila River Indian Community’s Cultural Resource Management Program in Sacaton, Arizona.


Topic : "This Native American Tribe Is Taking Back Its Water"

Kyle Woodson has served the past eight years as the Director of the Gila River Indian Community’s Cultural Resource Management Program in Sacaton, Arizona. Kyle received his Ph.D. in Anthropology at Arizona State University in 2010. His research focuses on southern Arizona and includes Hohokam canal irrigation agriculture, community organization, and ceramic production and technology, as well as Ancestral Puebloan migrations and other topics. Kyle has authored or co-authored a number of recent publications including: an article on granary pedestals in Classic Period Hohokam platform mound sites (with Brian Medchill and Chris Loendorf) in the Journal of Arizona Archaeology (2019); an article on the sourcing of hematite paints oh Hohokam red-on-buff ceramics (with Sunday Eiselt, John Dudgeon, Andy Darling, E.N. Paucar, and Michael Glascock) in Archaeometry (2019); an article on an experimental study of projectile point reworking (with Chris Loendorf, Thatcher Rogers, Theodore J. Oliver, Brian R. Huttick, and Allen Denoyer) in American Antiquity (2019); an article on Blackwater Village at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (with Chris Loendorf, Craig Fertelmes, David H. DeJong, and Barnaby V. Lewis) in Kiva (2018); an article on the development of prehistoric irrigation studies in Arizona under the National Historic Preservation Act (with Jerry Howard) in the Journal of Arizona Archaeology (2018); an article on reconstructing ancient Hohokam irrigation systems in the Middle Gila River Valley (with Tian Zhu and Maurits Ertsen) in Human Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Journal (2018); a book chapter titled “Preclassic Hohokam” (with Doug Craig) in The Oxford Handbook of Southwest Archaeology (2017); a book entitled The Social Organization of Hohokam Irrigation in the Middle Gila River Valley, Arizona (2016) published as part of the Gila River Indian Community Anthropological Papers series; an article on the formation of irrigated soils in Hohokam canal irrigated fields (with Jon Sandor, Colleen Strawhacker, and Wesley Miles) in Geoarchaeology: An International Journal (2015); a book chapter titled “The Impact of Flooding on Hohokam Canal Irrigation Agriculture” in Traditional Arid Lands Agriculture: Understanding the Past for the Future (edited by Scott Ingram and Robert Hunt, 2015); an article on ritual drinks in the pre-hispanic US Southwest and Mexican Northwest (with Patricia Crow, Jiyan Gu, W. Jeffrey Hurst, Timothy J. Ward, Ardith D. Bravenec, Syed Ali, Laura Kebert, Marlaina Berch, Erin Redman, Patrick D. Lyons, Jamie Merewether, David A. Phillips, and Lori S. Reed) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2015); and an article on flaked-stone point design for warfare and big game hunting (with Chris Loendorf, Lynn Simon, Daniel Dybowski, R. Scott Plumlee, Shari Tiedens, and Michael Withrow) in Antiquity (2015).

( photo from Smithsonian Magazine                         Tomas Karmelo Amaya  )

March 13, 2024  Dr. Shelby J. Tisdale 

Topic: No Place For A Lady: The Life Story of Marjorie F. Lambert

Brief Overview of “No Place for a Lady: The Life Story of Archaeologist Marjorie F. Lambert”

In the first half of the twentieth century, the canyons and mesas of the Southwest beckoned and the burgeoning field of archaeology thrived. Among those who heeded the call, Marjorie Ferguson Lambert became one of only a handful of women who not only left their imprint on the study of southwestern archaeology and anthropology but flourished.

Award-winning author, Dr. Shelby Tisdale’s new book No Place for a Lady: The Life Story of Marjorie F. Lambert provides a glimpse into a time when there were few women establishing full-time careers in anthropology, archaeology, or museums. Dr. Tisdale takes you on a thought-provoking journey into how Lambert created a successful and satisfying professional career and personal life in a place she loved (the American Southwest) while doing what she loved. Later in life she shared this love of the Southwest with her husband, Jack, a well-known cowboy in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area.

Through Lambert’s life story we gain new insight into the intricacies and politics involved in the development of archaeology and museums in New Mexico and the greater Southwest. We also learn about the obstacles that young women had to maneuver around in the early years of the development of southwest archaeology as a profession. Tisdale brings into focus one of the long-neglected voices of women in the intellectual history of anthropology and archaeology and highlights how gender roles played out in the past in determining the career paths of young women. She also highlights what has changed and what has not in the twenty-first century.

Women’s voices have long been absent throughout history, and Marjorie Lambert’s story adds to the growing literature on feminist archaeology.

Shelby J. Tisdale, Ph.D.

Retired Director, Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College

Research Associate, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona

Dr. Shelby Tisdale, retired Director of the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and a Research Associate in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, has over forty years of combined experience in museum administration; anthropological, tribal museum and cultural resource management consulting; and university teaching. She is the former Director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos. She also served as the Vice President of Curatorial and Exhibitions at the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. Dr. Tisdale received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1997. Her B.A. is from the University of Colorado-Boulder where she studied anthropology and southwestern archaeology, and her M.A. is from the University of Washington where she majored in social anthropology and museum studies.

She has curated numerous exhibitions on Native American and Hispano arts, culture and history. Dr. Tisdale has published forty-five articles and book chapters relating to American Indian art and culture, repatriation, and women in the West. She contributed to and directed the publication of the Oklahoma Book Award winning Woven Worlds: Basketry from the Clark Field Collection, for the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma (2001). Her book, Fine Indian Jewelry of the Southwest: The Millicent Rogers Museum Collection (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2006) received the Ralph Emerson Twitchell Book Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico and the Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association.  She edited Spider Woman’s Gift: Nineteenth Century Diné Textiles (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2011). Her book, Pablita Velarde: In Her Own Words (Little Standing Spruce Publishing, 2012), is a full-length biography of this famous American Indian painter. She recently edited Federico: One Man’s Remarkable Journey from Tututepec to L.A. by Federico Jimenez Caballero (University of Arizona Press, 2021), which received Honorable Mention for Non-Fiction Biography in English from the International Latino Book Awards in 2021. Her most recent book, No Place for a Lady: The Life Story of Marjorie F. Lambert, was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2023.

April 10, 2024    Dr. Gary Huckleberry -Adjunct Research Associate and Lecturer at the University of Arizona

Topic: Ancient Water Management In The Arizona Desert

Arizona has a long history of people managing water for agriculture and human consumption. Evidence for ancient water management is found across the state and includes canals, reservoirs, and wells. The earliest irrigation canals and reservoirs thus far identified are in the Tucson area and date to around 1500 and 500 BC, respectively. Through time, canal systems expanded in size, culminating in the impressive network of channels built by the Hohokam (AD 450–1450) along the lower Salt and middle Gila rivers. The Hohokam also constructed canals and reservoirs in areas of seasonal surface water, such as in the Queen Creek area. I will review the diversity of evidence, focusing on archaeological discoveries made in the Sonoran Desert region of central and southern Arizona, and discuss what lessons we might gain by studying these ancient features with respect to our current water challenges.

Gary Huckleberry is an independent consultant and adjunct researcher at the University of Arizona who specializes in soils, landforms, and archaeology. He was born and raised in Phoenix and received his Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Arizona. He was a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University in the late 90’s and early 00’s and served as the co-editor of the journal Geoarchaeology from 2008 to 2017. He has conducted research on geoarchaeology and environmental change in the deserts of western North America, northern Mexico, Peru, and Chile.

May 8, 2024       Dr. Amber VanDerwarke - U.C. Santa Barbara  Integrative Subsistence Laboratory Director

                                                 ---ZOOM PRESENTATION BROAD CASTING FROM THE MUSEUM

 Topic:  A New Locus for Avocado Domestication in Mesoamerica: Evidence for 8,000 years of human selection and tree management at El Gigante, Honduras

Recent research demonstrates that ancient Mesoamericans engaged in forest management long before they domesticated maize. Our research from El Gigante provides additional evidence for the antiquity of tree management practices in several different economically useful species. This presentation focuses on the avocado assemblage, represented by desiccated pits, pit fragments, and rind fragments, the latter numbering in the thousands. Using metric analysis of these materials, we demonstrate in situ domestication over an 8,000-year period, during which time pits got larger and rinds thicker as people selected for larger fruits. These findings establish southeastern Honduras as a new center of avocado domestication.

Amber M. VanDerwarker (Ph.D. 2003, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) is a Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has been involved in archaeological field and laboratory work in Mexico, eastern North America, and Peru. Her research encompasses a variety of methods, regions, and themes that revolve around the relationship between humans and food in the New World, especially in the periods bracketing the shift to agriculture.


Schedule:  January - December 2022

January:  22, 2022

In lieu of a presentation, the San Tan Chapter will host a Meet & Great " event at the San Tan Historical Museum.

Saturday from 12: to 2:00 pm. Potluck, beverages will be available. RSVP and bring a desert dish to share.

February 9, 2022  Dr. Patricia L. Crown Department of Anthropology University of New Mexico. 

                              ---VIDEO CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

Dr. Crown uncovered the first evidence of chocolate consumption in North America—north of Mexico—in 2009 and her research has received national and international attention. Crown and colleague Jeffery Hurst—at the time a senior chemist for the Hershey Company—have analyzed the identified chemical signature of cacao in three shreds of distinctive cylinder jars from Chaco Canyon, expanding knowledge of trade relationships between Mesoamerica and the US Southwest." unm

Topic: The House of the Cylinder Jars: Room 28 in Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon

Patricia L. Crown was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Arizona, Patricia L. Crown is an archaeologist who works in the American Southwest. She has been on the faculty at the University of New Mexico since 1993, where she is the Leslie Spier Distinguished Professor of Anthropology. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2014. Prof. Crown has conducted field investigations in the Ancestral Pueblo, Mogollon, and Hohokam areas of the American Southwest, and has worked in Chaco Canyon since 2005. She is particularly interested in ritual, women’s roles in the past, and how children learned the skills they needed to function as adults. To get at these issues, she studies ceramics. With collaborator Jeffrey Hurst, she identified the first prehispanic cacao (chocolate) north of the Mexican border in ceramics from Chaco Canyon using organic residue analysis. She directed the re-excavation of a room in Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon in 2013, and the results of that study were published in 2020 by UNM Press as a volume, The House of the Cylinder Jars: Room 28 at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon.

In 1896, excavations in Room 28 in Pueblo Bonito made several extraordinary finds: 173 whole ceramic vessels, including 112 Chacoan cylinder jars, as well as hundreds of ornaments and copper objects. After discovering residues of cacao in cylinder jars in 2009, I supervised the reexcavation of Room 28 in 2013 to examine the stratigraphy, collect datable materials, and determine when and why the room burned. In this talk, I will describe the results of this re-excavation, which helps us understand how the jars were used in the cacao-drinking ritual and why the room was set on fire. Surprisingly, the room had been filled with backdirt from surrounding rooms, giving us additional information on the area of Pueblo Bonito known as the “northern burial cluster.”

March: 2022

No presentation ; mini expo scheduled for Saturday March 26, 2022

Time: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: San Tan Historical Museum 20435 S Old Ellsworth Rd, Queen Creek 85142

April 13, 2022 Ken Zoll and Arizona Humanities present:

Ken Zoll is the Executive Director of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center in Camp Verde, and the Regional Coordinator of the site steward program of Arizona State Parks and Trails, charged with the monitoring of several prehistoric sites in the Verde Valley. Ken is also a volunteer docent at the cultural heritage sites in the Coconino National Forest. His archaeology specialty is ancient astronomy practices and he has conducted many studies within the Coconino National Forest and for the City of Springerville Arizona. He is a certified instructor in ancient astronomical practices with the Arizona Archaeological Society. Ken has authored three books, Sinagua Sunwatcher and Understanding the Rock Art of Sedona and the Verde Valley. All proceeds from the sale of his books go to Verde Valley Archaeology Center. His latest book entitled Heart of the Sky: Ancient Astronomy Practices in Central Arizona describes his astronomy discoveries over the past eight years.

Topic: Star Wounds: Meteorites from Ancient Native American Sites

The occurrence of meteorites on archaeological sites in North America has been known since the early 19th century. From the Hopewell culture in the eastern United States to the Indians in the American Southwest and northern Mexico, meteorites have been found on these ancient sites. Much like meteorite hunters of today, ancient Native American cultures actively engaged in meteorite collecting. Several meteorite fragments from Meteor Crater near Flagstaff have been discovered at ancient dwellings in Central Arizona. This talk will describe these meteorite locations, how they were associated with Meteor Crater and how one of the meteorites, using radiocarbon dating, established its location within a ruin and confirmed the date of the ruin’s destruction.

May 11, 2022   Karen Steelman, PhD - Science Director Dr. Karen L. Steelman is the director of Shumla’s new 14C plasma oxidation laboratory and a key member of Shumla's Research Leadership Team.        --VIDEO CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

Dr. Karen L. Steelman is the Science Director at Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center. As a principal investigator for Shumla’s NSF-supported Hearthstone Project, Karen works with a team that combines archaeological science, formal art analysis, and Indigenous knowledge to study the rock art of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands in southwest Texas.

Karen’s research career has allowed her to blend her two interests – physical science and archaeology. She uses chemistry to identify pigments used by ancient artists and to radiocarbon date ancient rock paintings. Karen received a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas and a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Dr. Steelman is a leading international rock art researcher with over 40 peer-reviewed archaeology publications.

Topic: The Hearthstone Project:Using Archaeological Science to Study Pictographs

In the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of southwest Texas, hunter-gatherers created large-scale artistic murals to communicate their beliefs and worldview. Today, researchers at Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center are using scientific methods to study the past. With over 30 direct radiocarbon dates, we know that the Pecos River style of painting persisted for over 4,500 years. This presentation will highlight new chemical analyses and radiocarbon dating results for the paintings from our current documentation and research focus – The Hearthstone Project. To conduct this field and laboratory research, we train and work directly with college interns and local high school students. In addition to peer-reviewed publications, our organization has an active social media presence and blog to share our findings with the public.

September: 14, 2022    Retired Ethnobotanist Pueblo Grande

Dave Morris has been a resident of Arizona for over fifty years. A member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma he received a degree in plant sciences from Northern Arizona University. Retired from the Pueblo Grande Museum, David volunteers with the Arizona Site Stewards and the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Topic :    "Plants and People in the Sonoran Desert"

Join Choctaw Tribal member and botanist David Morris for some stories and a look at several cultivated and gathered plants used by the people in the Southwest. Plants have provided for the food, medicine and spiritual needs of the Sonoran Desert people since prehistoric times. An informative and entertaining look at the ethnobotany of the Southwest.

photo from

October: 12, 2022    Dr.  Mary Ownby, PhD, Petrography Director of Desert Archaeology Inc.

Title: Building Bridges in Clay: Salado Polychrome Pottery in Phoenix

By: Dr. Mary F. Ownby


For decades archaeologists working in the Phoenix area have identified Salado Polychrome (aka Roosevelt Red Ware) in late Classic Period ceramic assemblages. However, most believed these were non-local imports. The application of scientific provenance methods more recently has revealed this is not the case. Petrographic and chemical (NAA) data from 10 sites in the Lower Salt Valley and one site along Queen Creek have revealed patterns of local manufacture. The results indicate several sites were possible producers, including those utilizing Salt River sand, a few locations north of the Salt River, and at least one location to the west of the Superstition Mountains. Such vessels circulated throughout the Lower Salt Valley and even to outlying areas. Their exchange within the valley and beyond shows the importance of these pots in connecting not just immigrant populations but integrating local communities as well. This highlights the significance of material culture in negotiating social change and bridging cultural differences in multiethnic settings.

Dr. Ownby received her PhD in Archaeology from the University of Cambridge (U.K.) in 2010 with a research focus on scientific analysis of ceramics. She completed a MSc in Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials from University College London and a MA in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. Her research utilizes petrographic and instrumental analysis of pottery (and other material types) to examine interregional contacts, technological choice, and ceramic ecology. Studies have been conducted throughout the U.S. Southwest and in Egypt, the Near East, Uzbekistan, and Panama. Dr. Ownby has been an Associate Researcher at the University of Arizona and the Research Petrography at Desert Archaeology, Inc. since 2010.

November:  9, 2022     Dr. Chris Loendorf Senior Project Manager Gila River Indian Community (GRIC)

Topic: Platform Mound Communities along the Middle Gila River


"Extensive archaeological evidence shows that major shifts in settlement patterns occurred over time within the Phoenix Basin, and it appears that population densities along the lower Salt and middle Gila Rivers fluctuated through time, such that periods of high density along one stream correspond with concurrent episodes of low density along the other river. When Platform Mound communities were at their height during the late Classic period, population density appears to have been comparatively low along the middle Gila, with only 12 Platform Mounds at 11 sites compared with 52 Mounds at 31 sites along the lower Salt. In contrast, much larger settlement areas such as Snaketown were present in the same area during the Preclassic period, and data show that during the Classic period many people moved either upstream to the Casa Grande area, or north to the lower Salt River and the Tonto Basin. The middle Gila and lower Salt Rivers have divergent stream flow regimes, which appears to at least partially account for the differences observed in settlement patterns, including the scale of the Platform Mound communities along the two rivers. "

December: 14, 2022 Jim Britton 

              VIDEO CONFERENCE



January 13, 2021 @ 7pm (second Wednesday of the month): Annalisa Alvrus, Ph.D.. MESA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Chair, Cultural Science Department; Residential Faculty, Anthropology---VIDEO CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

Annalisa was born in another hot place (southwest Florida) and soon in life found out she couldn't figure out what she was most interested in studying. Given all that, she opted for anthropology, because of the breadth and depth of expanses of human knowledge that are covered in that field. While working full time as a legal secretary, she accumulated various credits in 3.5 years at community colleges in Florida and Maryland, then finally obtained her Bachelor's degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, graduating summa cum laude. She moved on to graduate study at Arizona State University, earning a Master's in Bioarchaeology, and in 2006, she earned a Ph.D. in Physical Anthropology. She became full time faculty in the Maricopa Community College District in 2005 and has tremendously enjoyed her many semesters spent sharing her love of anthropology with numerous students at the community college.

Topic: Vampires, Witches, and Zombies, Oh My!

For generations untold, humans have utilized religion to help us fathom things that are beyond our immediate understanding, such as death and why we die. One of the goals of anthropology is to "make the strange familiar and the familiar strange" by exploring how people in other cultures (including other cultures across time) have understood and experienced similar human events. This talk will look at the human experience of death and the immediate period after death, to analyze how humans have used belief systems, including religion, to explain phenomena common to all of us.

February 10,2021   :Dr. Michelle Turner    Crow Canyon Archaeological Center Cortez Colorado

                             Topic: Aztec Ruins National Monument---VIDEO CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

The Archaeology of the Aztec North Great House

Dr. Michelle I. Turner

In 2016, a team from Binghamton University conducted archaeological testing at the previously unexcavated Aztec North great house at Aztec Ruins National Monument. The fieldwork revealed architectural surprises, including unexpected construction methods and remodeling over time, as well as fascinating artifact patterns. I will discuss what we have learned about the site’s chronology, about the architecture, and about people’s daily lives at this site. I will also discuss my ongoing research into the great house’s place in the larger cultural landscape of Aztec Ruins and its relationship to Chaco Canyon and other regions.

Michelle Turner is a postdoctoral scholar at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, where she works on the Northern Chacoan Outliers Project. She received her PhD in 2019 from the Department of Anthropology at Binghamton University (SUNY). This talk grows out of her dissertation research on the Aztec North great house.

March 10, 2021 : Dr. Chris Loendorf Senior Project Manager GRIC-----VIDEO CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Akimel O’Odham Perseverance and Resiliency

Much of what is known regarding Historic period Native American communities is based on the interpretation of documents that were written by non-indigenous peoples. However, archaeological excavations in a portion of the Blackwater Village within the Gila River Indian Community provide another perspective on Native American life ways within south-central Arizona during the late 1800s. The latter 19th century was a pivotal time for the Akimel O’Odham (i.e., Pima) who have long lived within the Phoenix Basin, and they experienced dramatic changes in their subsistence strategies, settlement patterns, craft production, and other cultural practices during this time, which is referred to as the “years of famine” (1880-1920). These recent archaeological investigations demonstrate that the Akimel O’Odham were not passive recipients of Euroamerican culture, and instead they chose to adopt some aspects of non-native practices while at the same time retaining important traditions. As a result, the Akimel O’Odham have successfully maintained their society in the face of tremendous hardships, and Blackwater Village remains a vibrant settlement to this day.

April 14, 2021 : Niccole Villa Cerveny , Ph.D MESA COMMUNITY COLLEGE , Faculty | Geosciences & Topic: Rock Art Conservation: Lessons from the American Southwest and the Jordanian Holy Lands


Brief Synopsis: Join us as we investigate both the natural and human causes of rock decay on cultural stone containing petroglyphs in the deserts of the American Southwest. Utilizing the Rock Art Stability Index, field researchers can quantify the threats to our cultural heritage. We will also explore the contrast between the challenges of our desert geoheritage and the Wadi Rum Desert in the Hisma Basin of Jordan, where similar rock types and climate impact 2000 year old petroglyphs and inscriptions. Lessons from both locations richly inform rock art mitigation decisions and cultural stone management for the sustainability of heritage resources.

Mini-Bio: Niccole Villa Cerveny is a professor of geosciences and sustainability at Mesa Community College who specializes in geomorphology, conservation of cultural resources, and undergraduate research. She obtained her doctorate from Arizona State University. Her research ranges from studying climatic relationships through quartz grain decay to conservation and preservation of rock art. Her work has been published in scholarly journals including Heritage Management, Journal of Geomorphology, Geoarchaeology, and Weatherwise. Although she enjoys engaging in indigenous weaving techniques and other outdoor activities, her current passion involves helping K-12 teachers and students explore impactful field research experiences.

May 12, 2021           : Richard Lange ---VIDEO CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

                                Topic: Homol'ov | Arizona Archaeologist #43

Homol’ovi II (H2) is one of the two largest ancestral Hopi villages just outside of Winslow in northeastern Arizona. HRP worked there in 1983‐84, from 1991‐1995, and finally in 2013 and 2014. H2, along with 6 other prehistoric villages, clustered along the Little Colorado River for water and intensive cotton production in the late 1200s through the 1300s. H2 was founded about 1360, and like the other villages, was closed as the populations moved to the Hopi Mesas about 1400. The talk will discuss the general history of the Homol’ovi area, what was there before and after the Homol’ovi villages, the founding and evolution of H2 village, and some details about the creation and exchange of Hopi yellow ware pottery that was found in abundance at the Homol’ovi sites.

Rich Lange got his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in 1974 and his MA from the University of Arizona in 1977. Upon completion of the MA degree, he walked across the street and was employed on a contract project for Arizona State Museum. Rich continue working there on other projects, doing state land surveys, and then becoming the Associate Director for ASM’s Homol’ovi Research Program (HRP). For the HRP, Rich directed surveys in the main park area and at Rock Art Ranch to the southeast, participated in excavations at the major Homol’ovi pueblos, and sometimes directed the excavations, such as at Homol’ovi I in the park (Homolovi State Park) and at the Multi‐Kiva Site south of Rock Art Ranch. He has recently completed the report for work done by the HRP at Homol’ovi II.   

Photo : Homol’ovi II near Winslow, of the large kiva there under excavation in 1993.

September 8,2021Dr. Vance T. Holliday Professor  School of Anthropology & Department of Geosciences University of Arizona

Director, Argonaut Archaeological Research Fund

Topic:  "In Search of the First Americans Across the Greater Southwest" ---VIDEO CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

Vance Holliday attended The University of Texas to study archaeology (BA in Anthropology,1972). By the time he was at Texas Tech for an MA in Museum Science (1977) and to work on the Lubbock Lake archaeological project his interests expanded to soils, landscapes, and geology. At the same time, his work at Lubbock Lake was bringing him into contact with research into the earliest (Paleoindian) populations on the Great Plains. The result of these interests was a PhD in Geology from the University of Colorado (1982). His professional career, which started at the University of Wisconsin (1986-2002), is largely devoted to reconstructing and interpreting the landscapes and environments in which Paleoindians lived, and how these conditions evolved, initially on the Great Plains. This interest culminated in his joining the University of Arizona faculty (2002) to direct the Argonaut Archaeological Research Fund (AARF), which is devoted to research on the geoarchaeology of the Paleoindian people of the Southwest. Since 2002 he has been a professor in both the Departments of Anthropology and Geosciences at the University of Arizona, and Adjunct Professor in Geography & Regional Development. Outside of the Plains and the Southwest his field work has included early sites in Alaska, Argentina, and Chile, and Paleolithic sites in Russia and Ukraine.

Honors include the Archaeological Geology Award of the Geological Society of America, the Kirk Bryan Award of the G.S.A., and in 2018 the Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research from the Society for American Archaeology. He authored three books, including Paleoindian Geoarchaeology of the Southern High Plains, and co-edited four others, including the Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology and Plainview: Enigmatic Paleoindian Artifact Style of the Great Plains. He also published numerous journal articles and book chapters on Pleistocene and Holocene geology and soils, on geoarchaeology, and on Paleoindian archaeology.

Vance T. Holliday, University of Arizona

The First Americans, the so-called “Paleoindians” were the earliest hunters and gatherers to settle in the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. They lived at a time when the climate was substantially different than today; generally cooler and wetter. Rivers carried more water and there were more, and larger lakes scattered across the region. Another significant characteristic of this time was presence of now extinct “megafauna” – large mammals such as mammoth, mastodon, horse, camel, dire wolf, and several big cats and bears. The best-known characteristic of the Paleoindian foragers is their stone tool technology.

Archaeological research shows that the earliest Paleoindian group were makers of Clovis projectile points. Clovis foragers (13,500 – 13,000 cal years B.P.) were not common in the region, but chance discoveries revealed several Clovis kill sites with the remains of mammoth and other extinct megafauna. The presence of younger Paleoindian sites varies considerably across the region. There are few such sites in southern Arizona and Sonora, but they are relatively common on the Colorado Plateau of northern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico. They are locally quite dense along the greater Rio Grande valley of New Mexico and southern Colorado. The artifacts of Folsom foragers (13,000-12,000 cal years B.P.), who followed the Clovis people are particularly common in basins of the Rio Grande. By Folsom time most of the megafauna were extinct. The best know survivor was bison, and Folsom people apparently became expert bison hunters. Folsom bison kills are well documented on the Great Plains. None are known in the southwest because buried, intact Folsom sites are very rare and poorly preserved. Younger “Late Paleoindian” sites (12,500-11,000 cal years B.P.) are also known from the Rio Grande region, but they seem to be fewer than Folsom. By late Paleoindian times the climate was significantly warmer and drier than Clovis or Folsom times and human adaptive behavior was likely shifting toward more sedentary “Archaic” lifestyles with increased focus on plant gathering and use of local resources.

October 13, 2021 : Dr. Aaron Wright Southwest Archaeology---VIDEO CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

Aaron Wright Preservation Anthropologist, Archaeology Southwest

Aaron Wright is a Preservation Anthropologist with Archaeology Southwest, a Tucson-based non-profit organization dedicated to studying, protecting, and respecting the Southwest’s rich archaeological landscape. He is author of Religion on the Rocks: Hohokam Rock Art, Ritual Practice, and Social Transformation (University of Utah Press, 2014) and editor of the forthcoming Sacred Southwestern Landscapes: Archaeologies of Religious Ecology.


“Hohokam, Patayan, or ?”—Unmixing the Archaeology of the Lower Gila River

With its varied topography and stark contrast between riverine and desert environs, western Arizona witnessed the flourishing of multiple cultural traditions that followed related yet unique historic trajectories. Archaeologists learned long ago that, in places, the material remains of these distinct traditions overlap on the landscape. This scenario is quite evident along the lower Gila River, where elements of Patayan and Hohokam material culture are often found together or in close proximity. How to explain the “mixing”? In this presentation, Aaron Wright reviews preliminary findings of a four-year survey and documentation of over 150 archaeological sites in the Dendora Valley and surrounding area that show what the archaeological record looks like when worlds collide.

source : Archaeology

November 10, 2021  : Dr. Michelle Rae Bebber ---VIDEO CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

Dr. Michelle Bebber is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. She has degrees in Biological Anthropology (Ph.D.), Experimental Archaeology (M.A.), Interdisciplinary Anthropology (B.A.), and Studio Art (B.A.) with a focus in ceramics. Michelle specializes in experimental archaeology and co-directs the Kent State University Experimental Archaeology Laboratory. Her research has been featured on the Discovery Channel, NPR, and Gizmodo, as well as several other media outlets, including Science and Archaeology magazine. Her research involves early metal technologies, ceramic production and function, and projectile weaponry. Michelle’s current projects are focused on North American copper use and the human aesthetic experience. Her diverse background, which merges the fine arts and hard sciences, gives her a strong replicative skillset and a unique perspective on past tool production processes, tool innovation, modification, and general usage.

Topic: The End of North America’s Copper Age: What Can Experimental Ballistics and Mechanics Tell Us?

North America’s Old Copper Culture (6000-3000 B.P.) is a unique event in archaeologists’ global understanding of ancient metallurgy. For millennia, Middle and Late Archaic hunter-gatherers around the North American Upper Great Lakes region regularly made utilitarian implements out of copper, only for these items to decline in prominence and frequency during the Archaic to Woodland Transition. This decline in copper tools has generally been explained as a result of population growth and increasing social complexity seen in the subsequent Woodland Period. However, could it be that other factors—such as overall tool function—may have contributed to the end of North America’s “Copper Age”? Dr. Bebber will discuss the results of her experimental program, which addresses this question via the functional comparison of replicated tools made from native copper versus those made of stone and bone.


Topic: "Hohokam and Salado Archaeology Along US 60 Near Superior, Arizona" ---VIDEO CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

Presentation: Hohokam and Salado Archaeology Along US 60


... an overview of archaeological investigations by EcoPlan Associates, Inc. for ADOT along a four mile stretch of US 60 just east of Superior. I will briefly discuss overall project chronology, culture history, and results of several kinds of analyses with particular attention to the pottery found. Previous work west of this area revealed mostly Hohokam sites. During this project we found both Hohokam and Salado sites – sometimes at the same location. We have the opportunity to examine the transition from the late pre-Classic to Classic periods (AD 900 – 1450) here along Queen Creek and to examine the social environments and interaction spheres of Hohokam and Salado populations in the early Classic Period. This work provides new information on the upper Queen Creek corridor between the more intensely investigated Phoenix Basin and Tonto Basin/Globe Highlands.

Jay Franklin is Director of Cultural Resources and a Principal Investigator for EcoPlan Associates, Inc. headquartered in Mesa, Arizona. Franklin works in EcoPlan’s Tucson office. He was

 awarded his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Tennessee in 2002. His primary research interests include prehistoric hunter gatherers, cave and rock art, and prehistoric stone tools and pottery. Franklin has more than 26 years of experience in archaeology and cultural resource management. He is certified by the Arizona State Museum as a principal investigator and project director. His archaeological experience spans the southeastern United States, Missouri, North Dakota, Texas, Arizona, and France. He has worked extensively in academia and cultural resource management to design and conduct large and small projects from archaeological surveys to large excavation projects. Franklin has been a professor, archaeology director, project manager. He taught courses in introductory archaeology, human osteology and paleontology, Native American cultures, prehistoric stone tool technologies, Paleolithic archaeology, cultural resource management, archaeological curation, and archaeological ceramics, among others, at East Tennessee State University, the University of Memphis, Pellissippi State Technical Community College, and the University of Tennessee. Franklin’s research has been presented at professional conferences and published in several leading archaeological and scientific journals from state to international levels.

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Chapter Meetings

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Chapter Meetings

The San Tan Chapter meetings are held at the San Tan Historical Society Museum at 20435 S Old Ellsworth Rd in Queen Creek on the corners of Queen Creek Rd and Ellsworth Loop Rd. Use the access road just south of the Queen Creek Rd (it goes east) then turn north on to Old Ellsworth Road.  Monthly meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month from September to May.  We meet at 6:00 pm and the presentation begins at 6:30 PM.  For more information on our chapter, contact Marie Britton at  . 

Parking is behind the museum; enter via the front door. The road into the museum has been redesigned, leaving only 3 spaces in front to park.  Monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Please Note: ONLY Members of AAS can participate in Workshops and Field Trips. Field Trip participants will be required to sign an AAS Liability Release Form.

Memberships run on the calendar year.


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Upcoming events

Events ( must be a current AAS member)

    Field Trip:    2024 / 2025

Future Trips:

1. Broken Basin

2. White Tank Mountain Regional Park

3. South Mountain Park and Reserve

4. Cave Creek

5. San Tan Mountain Regional Park


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Chapter Projects

  • AAS San Tan Chapter pottery sherd clean-up and inventory.
  • Desert Wells Stage Stop - stabilization and repair of rock walls.

The Arizona Stage Company, operating after 1868, is believed to have used this old Andrada homestead as a respite from the Arizona Territory heat until approximately 1916.      

The early settlers described it as a simple one room building about ten foot square, constructed of rock with a mud and thatched roof.  There was a trough running around three of the sides, which was used for watering the horses, a porch on the south side and a well with windmill close by to keep the trough filled.  It had one four-foot door on the south side, and small gun ports instead of windows.

The site was a rest area and watering stop for the horses and mules used by freight wagons and the stage line that came from Florence via Olberg, and continued through the gap in the San Tan Mountains to Mesa, Arizona.

Even though this was a small spur stop, it holds a significant role in Queen Creek’s history and folklore, and is treasured by the community. If your interested in volunteering for this project please email us at

  • Stabilization of the San Tan Historical Museum. 

The historic Rittenhouse Elementary School, home to the San Tan Historical Society & Museum, was placed on the Arizona Historical Registry in 1990 and accepted by the National Registry of Historic Places in 1998. To donate your time or services to this ongoing restoration project, or to volunteer as museum interpreters please contact us:  The Museum is open every Saturday from 9am to 1pm and is open to the public, free of charge.  

The three-room, U-shaped building was named after Charles Rittenhouse and was used for classes from 1925 to 1982. The school is constructed of Arizona red brick with white trimmed transommed windows. Two roll-down dividers separated the three rooms, and a small stage was equipped with an abbreviated fly loft. Over time, changes were made to accommodate the needs of the growing community.

Some of the original playground equipment is still available for viewing. Antique farm equipment rests in the school yard north of the schoolhouse, reflecting a time when the local economy was based on agriculture. There are many new displays, pictures and historical information inside the classrooms. Please visit the historic Rittenhouse School now called the San Tan Historical Museum For more information visit our webpage at

Other: Cultural Sites Nearby





Informative Web Sites 









Crow Canyon Archaeology Center 

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

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