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Field Trips

Image of Hawikku taken by Edward Curtis in 1925

A two-day tour of Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico, and other nearby sites is being planned for Friday and Saturday, October 13 and 14, 2017. On Friday, October 13, we will visit the Village of the Great Kivas (a Chacoan outlier), where you can view some very nice pictographs and petroglyphs. Heading back to Zuni pueblo, in the afternoon we will take a tour of the Middle Village, the historic original Pueblo which is the center of the Zuni world and Culture. This will be followed by a traditional Zuni meal. On Saturday, October 14, we will visit the pueblo of Hawikku, an archaeological site and place of the first European contact. We then will return to Zuni Pueblo for lunch on your own. Also on this day, you will have the opportunity to join in the Zuni Pueblo Fall Festival, which will have traditional crafts, food and dancing. If you are interested, you can visit the Ashiwi Awan Museum and Heritage Center on your own to learn more about the Zuni. The cost of the tours, led by Zuni guides, and the traditional Zuni dinner will be $75.00, a discount on their usual fees. Transportation and lodging is on your own. This trip is limited to 20 people, and you must be an AAHS member in good standing to participate. Once you have signed up, further details for payment, lodging, etc. will be forthcoming. Contact person for this event is Chris Lange.

September can be hot in Southern Arizona, why not join us for a guided tour of the acclaimed Amerind Museum (http://www.amerind.org/index.html) on Saturday, September 16 at 10 am. Executive Director Christine Szuter and Curator/Deputy Director Eric Kaldahl have graciously offered us small group tours of the back room and larger group tours of the “front-of-the-house.” Dr. Kaldahl will lead tours of six participants through the storage vault.

Located in Cochise County one mile south of Interstate 10, the drive there includes stunning views of rolling desert hills and Texas Canyon’s spectacular walls of naturally stacked granitic boulders. The facility is prized not only for the antiquity and significance of what is held inside but also for its architectural merit. Constructed in the 1930’s in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style, the buildings of the Amerind are a testament to Arizona’s heritage resources and another sight to see on your visit.

The tour is open to 18 people. The drive is a little over an hour from Tucson and, if there is interest, we will arrange a car pool meeting place before departing for the tour. Participants will be asked to bring their own lunches and there is a very nice picnic area on the grounds surrounded by the Texas Canyon boulders. There will be an $8.00 per person group-tour entrance fee charged at the door.

For additional questions or if you would like to register please contact Chris Sugnet.

Join us for a cool weekend in Flagstaff. On Friday afternoon June 23rd we will tour the amazing repository at the Museum of Northern Arizona. ($5.00 fee).

On Saturday archaeologists Dana Brown and Alex Neumann will lead us on a front-country tour of Wupatki National Monument visiting four different Ancestral Puebloan sites while learning about the areas rich prehistoric history combined with a look into how cultures such as the Sinagua, Cohonina, and the Kayenta survived and thrived on the semi-arid Colorado Plateau. The tour will start off at the Lomaki-Box Canyon Pueblos, swing around the corner to walk thru Nalakihu and up to Citadel Pueblo. Here we will discuss how ancestral Puebloan would have incorporated the surrounding landscape for agricultural purposes while overlooking Antelope Prairie, Citadel Sink and the Painted Desert.  From there, we will travel to Wupatki Visitor Center and  break for lunch. Afterwards we will take a Wupatki Pueblo tour, detailing why it was an regionally important ceremonial center and trading hub, evident by key architectural features (Chacoan influence rooms) and significant trade goods (Pacific Ocean shells, Macaw burials, ceramic sherds). Closing out the tour, the group will take a hop and skip across the road to Wukoki. Here we will view Wukoki’s splendid architectural construction accentuated by its 3-story tower while NPS staff incorporates the importance of the National Park Service mission into the discussion.

On Sunday morning rock art researchers Evelyn Billo and Robert Mark will take us on a 2-3 hour hike through Picture Canyon, a petroglyph site and Natural and Cultural Preserve on the east side of Flagstaff. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, in part due to the early archaeological work in 1919 by Harold and Mary-Russel Colton, founders of the Museum of Northern Arizona. In addition to 123 panels of petroglyphs, over 170 bird species and over 200 botanical species, many of which are known to be used by Native Americans, are found in the preserve.

The trip is limited to 20 people. To register email Katherine Cerino.

Jim Watson in the Field

Jim Watson, Associate Curator of Bioarchaeology and Nicole Mathwich, Zooarchaeology Curatorial Assistant, will host an engaging two-hour combination seminar and lab experience on methods and what we can learn from human and animal remains recovered from archaeological contexts.  Participants will learn some hands-on anatomy basics with favorite desert animals, how bones are deposited, found, and recovered from archaeological sites, and how the sub-disciplines of bioarchaeology and zooarchaeology can contribute to answering archaeological research questions.

Registration is limited to 12 people. To register contact Katherine Cerino.

Join Pima County archaeologist Ian Milliken for a tour of the Valencia site. The Valencia Site is a large, very well preserved Hohokam village with Late Archaic pithouses and the first reported Clovis Paleoindian point from the Tucson Basin having been documented within the boundaries of the site. It is comprised of two archaeological sites, AZ BB:13:15(ASM) and AZ BB:13:74(ASM) with documented occupations spanning from 600 B.C. to A.D. 1200. The Hohokam component of the Valencia site situates its use within the Late Pioneer, Colonial, and Sedentary periods. A small amount of early Classic period materials were also noted in the northern site areas. The Valencia Site has a large number of domestic features, such as pithouses, trash mounds, cremations, storage pits, and cooking pits. It also has public features that include a ballcourt and a large, centrally located open space that may be a public plaza. Prepare for a half day trip, bring your lunch, or grab some fantastic tacos in South Tucson when the trip ends. To register for the trip contact Cannon Daughtrey. Participation is limited to 20.

Aaron Wright of Archaeology Southwest, who has been doing extensive studies, particularly of the rock art, in the Gila Bend area, has offered to lead us on a day tour to the Oatman Point Petroglyph Site and adjacent habitation area. The Oatman Point petroglyphs are of a unique regional style that fuses design attributes of the Hohokam and Patayan traditions. The associated habitation is a small ranchería dating to the Patayan II and/or Early Hohokam Classic Period (AD 1100-1300). Both sites are part of the proposed Great Bend of the Gila National Monument.

The Oatman site is approximately a 2.5 hour drive from Tucson. Touring the site requires about a 4.5 round-trip mile walk although the terrain is not terribly difficult. High clearance vehicles are necessary to access the site.

We will plan to carpool from Tucson leaving at 7:00 am and should be back around 6:00 pm. Another option is to meet at 10:00 am at the Sentinel Rd exit off Highway 8. If you want to spend Friday night in Gila Bend you could tour the Painted Rock Site on your own prior to meeting us.

Tour is limited to 20 people. To sign up contact Katherine Cerino.


Al Dart, of Old Pueblo Archaeology, will lead a trip to Ventana Cave, the Santa Rosa historic Spanish Colonial mission revival-style church and village plaza, one of that village’s historic cemeteries, and a petroglyph site near Santa Rosa. All are located on the Tohono O’odham reservation.

Ventana Cave is a National Historic Landmark site. During the Arizona State Museum’s 1940s excavations in the cave, led by archaeologists Emil W. Haury and Julian Hayden, evidence was found for human occupation going back from historic times to around 10,000 years ago. The cave, which actually is a very large rockshelter, also contains pictographs, petroglyphs, and other archaeological features used by Native Americans for thousands of years.

Attendees from Tucson will meet in the park-and-ride lot at I-10 and Ruthrauff, then caravan from there to the Eloy McDonalds (where anyone coming from the Phoenix area can meet us), then to Ventana Cave via Indian Routes 15 and 34, then back to Tucson via State Route 86. The total round-trip driving distance from Tucson for that circuit is about 226 miles. This will be an all day trip. Participation is limited to 20. To register for the trip email Katherine Cerino.


Please join archaeologists Amelia Natoli and Avi Buckles of a tour of prehistoric sites in the Coyote Mountains west of Tucson near Three Points. The Coyote Mountains archaeological district was documented by Allen Dart and James Holmlund during the late 1980s and includes an extensive complex of early-to-late Classic period (A.D. 1150-1450) sites. The walking tour will focus on Mendoza Canyon, a scenic desert canyon containing residential compounds, platform mounds, bedrock mortars, and rock art panels. The entire tour will cover two to two and half miles of moderately difficult hiking (with one difficult hike that is optional) so please bring  appropriate hiking gear, water, and  snacks. High-clearance vehicles are recommended for the road to the trailhead. Carpooling will be arranged as the trip date nears. To register for the trip please contact Cannon Daughtrey. Permit pending.


Explore the archaeology of the Petrified Forest National Park with Park Archaeologists Bill Reitze, Amy Schott, and Erina Gruner. Petrified Forest hosts 13,000 years of human history, including hundreds of petroglyphs sites, an amazingly dense prehistoric occupation, and a rich historic record. Saturday will include a mix of pueblo, historic, and rock art site visits including several short hikes in the core of the park. Sunday will involve longer backcountry hikes into sites in the park’s new expansion lands, finishing early afternoon. Both days we will meet at the park headquarters off I-40 at exit 311. The Visitors Center is about a 30 minute drive from Holbrook where motels are available.

To sign up contact Cannon Daughtrey. The trip is limited to 20 people and we will arrange car pooling from Holbrook to limit the number of vehicles.

Computer generated image of Chavez Pass Ruins
Computer generated image of Nuvakwewtaqa Ruins

Nuvakwewtaqa Ruins, otherwise known as Chavez Pass Ruins, are the remains of a substantial Sinagua pueblo occupied between A.D. 1050-1425. The site served as a trade center and was integral to ancestral Hopi migrations to the east. Please join trip leader Jeff Charest for a tour of the ruins.

Located half way between Winslow and Pine, Arizona, the site is accessible by car and a short but somewhat strenuous hike. Please note that the pueblo is situated on a steep and rocky slope, and some may find the approximately 1 mile hike difficult.

Make your way to the Blue Ridge Ranger Station at noon, Saturday October 8 for a tour of the ruins. Unimproved camping areas are available near the Ranger station, or a developed campground is available at the Happy Jack Lodge roughly 15 minutes away on Lake Mary Road (there are also cabins available at the Lodge. More detailed trip information will follow as the date nears. Tucson folks who might want to go up the night before will find plenty of accommodation in Payson.

To register for the trip email Cannon Daughtrey or Jeff Charest.

For more information on Chavez Pass, check out:

Brown, Gary M.
1990       Technological Change in the Chavez Pass Region: North Central Arizona. Arizona State University Anthropological Research Papers, Vol. 41. Tempe, Arizona.

Lyons, Patrick D.
2003       Ancestral Hopi Migrations. Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona, No. 68. The University of Arizona Press. Tucson, Arizona.