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Event Calendar

Upcoming events

    • 18 Mar 2017
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • 473 S. Main St., Room 106, Camp Verde

    The General Crook Trail -- An ArchaeoMadness Lecture

    March 18 - 10:00 AM

    Gerald Ehrhardt will discuss how the Crook Trail was originally an historic and probable prehistoric Indian route through the Verde Valley. It connected with other Indian trails that went east into the Tonto Basin and on to the Mogollon Rim, and west to the Prescott Valley and Black Mountain Canyon. An early predecessor to Crook, In 1868, General Devin led a military expedition into the Tonto Basin to record a trail that became known as the Camp Verde – Camp Apache Trail that Crook followed on his 1871 inaugural trip across the Mogollon Rim.

    This lecture is free but a $5 donation by nonmembers is suggested to help defray costs. Limited Seating.

    • 18 Mar 2017
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • 395 S. Main St., Room 204, Camp Verde

    Square Holes: Kolb Archaeological and Education Project (NC - USA) 55 minutes - An ArchaeoMadness Film

    March 18 - 10:00 AM

    The Great Pee Dee River has served as a major trade and transportation route for thousands of years. Sitting above what was once the River's main channel the Kolb Site is rich in artifacts from yesterday to 13,000 years ago. For 2 weeks each year a group of dedicated career and volunteer archaeologist descend upon this ancient sand dune to unlock its secrets and journey through the past. Living in a donated hunting lodge and a converted silo for the duration of the dig it is an annual homecoming. An opportunity to renew old friendships, some have been returning to this remote part of South Carolina since the beginning, and once again share the joy and labor of discovery. The public is also invited to come and explore. Join the archaeological team as they reveal the past layer by layer.

    All films are free but a $5 donation by nonmembers is suggested to help defray costs. Limited Seating.

    • 18 Mar 2017
    • 10:00 AM
    • 19 Mar 2017
    • 4:00 PM
    • 395 S. Main St., Camp Verde

    The annual Verde Valley Archaeology Fair is a Signature Event of the Arizona SciTech Festival.  

    March 18-19 - 10 am - 4 pm

    Within the Community Center will be demonstrations and exhibits related to archaeology.

    Access to the Community Center is free.



    • 18 Mar 2017
    • 10:00 AM
    • 19 Mar 2017
    • 4:00 PM
    • 395 S. Main St., Camp Verde

    As part of the annual Verde Valley Archaeology Fair, we are pleased to host the American Indian Art Show

    March 18-19 - 10 am - 4 pm

    This invitational show and sale include artists from Hopi, Navajoland, Zuni and New Mexico Pueblos. Native American musicians and dancers provide entertainment. See the Art Show web page for entertainers and schedule.

    Admission to the American Indian Art Show is free.

    • 18 Mar 2017
    • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
    • 473 S. Main St., Room 106, Camp Verde

    The Verde Salt Mine: Ancient and Historic Salt Mining in Camp Verde -- An ArchaeoMadness Lecture

    March 18 - 12:00 PM

    Salt has been a valuable trade item throughout human history. Native American salt procurement in the Southwest involved dangerous journeys across sacred landscapes associated with a deity called Salt Woman. This presentation describes the history of a famous salt mine in Camp Verde, Arizona, where prehistoric Sinagua tools used for mining salt were discovered in the 1920s by historic miners deep inside tunnels dug into a thick, fresh-water salt deposit. Numerous photographs are shown of these well-preserved, 700-year old tools to illustrate the story of this unusual discovery.  Comparisons are made with other Native American salt mines in the Southwest.

    Dr. Todd Bostwick has conducted archaeological research in the Southwest for 36 years. He was the Phoenix City Archaeologist for 21 years at Pueblo Grande Museum, and is currently the Director of Archaeology at the Verde Valley Archaeology Center. He has an MA in Anthropology and a PhD in History from Arizona State University (ASU), and taught classes at both ASU and Northern Arizona University for more than seven years. He has been an Arizona Humanities Scholar on several projects, and has published numerous books and articles on Southwest archaeology and history. Dr. Bostwick has received awards from the Arizona Archaeological Society, National Park Service, City of Phoenix, and the Arizona Governor’s Office.

    All lectures are free but a $5 donation by nonmembers is suggested to help defray costs. Limited Seating.

    • 18 Mar 2017
    • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
    • 435 S. Main St., Room 204, Camp Verde

    Naachtun; The Forgotten Mayan City (France) 90 minutes -- An ArchaeoMadness Film

    March 18 - 12:00 PM

    Naachtun is the last city of the Maya golden age. We know little about it and archaeologists have started excavation just a few years ago. Isolated in the middle of the tropical forest of Guatemala, the researchers are trying to understand how it can have survived for almost 200 years after the collapse of the Mayan civilization in surrounding cities, and in doing so, to shed new light on the history of this people. Using ambitious resources, including 4K HD cameras, drones, and cutting-edge graphics, the result is an exciting adventure combined with an in-depth scientific study. This documentary presents the account of an epic saga.

    All films are free but a $5 donation by nonmembers is suggested to help defray costs. Limited Seating.

    • 18 Mar 2017
    • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
    • 473 S. Main St., Room 106, Camp Verde

    Reconstructing the Lupanar: Form, Design, and Operation of Pompeii's Purpose-Built Brothel -- An ArchaeoMadness Lecture

    March 18 - 2:00 PM

    Michel Zajac will discuss that despite being the only universally-recognized building for prostitution from the ancient Roman world, the purpose-built brothel (lupanar) of Pompeii remains a misunderstood structure. Modern research has painted an incomplete picture of the edifice, with nearly all emphasis being assigned to its sexually-explicit aspects while its other details are ignored. This is especially true in regard to its rarely-seen second floor, a segment that has almost no scholastic record of study. Through a careful examination of the remaining physical and archaeological evidence, this talk shall reconstruct the lupanar as an economic enterprise embedded in a larger urban fabric, generating a more comprehensive illustration of this thus-far unique construction.

    Michel "Mike" Zajac is an independent scholar who has taught at Arizona State University and throughout the Maricopa Community College system since 2009. He holds a B.I.S. degree in Art History and Psychology (summa cum laude) and an M.A. in Art History, both from ASU. He conducted his graduate fieldwork at Pompeii, and has worked as a researcher and excavator for six seasons at the Greco-Roman site of Marion / Arsinoe in Cyprus. He is the former Secretary of the Archaeological Institute of America's Central Arizona Society.

    All lectures are free but a $5 donation is suggested for nonmembers to help defray the costs. Limited Seating.

    • 18 Mar 2017
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • 465 S. Main St., Room 204, Camp Verde

    Four Archaeology Documentary Shorts -- An ArchaeoMadness Film Event

    March 18 - 2:00 PM

    The X-ray Time Machine (USA) 26 minutes
    The Antikythera Mechanism is one of the most extraordinary discoveries from the ancient Greek world: a 2000-year-old astronomical calculating machine of great complexity. for the first time, we can delve deeper into the meaning and function of this extraordinary artifact and start to understand what it really is.

    Lady in the Lead Coffin (UK) 11 minutes
    A stone sarcophagus containing a lead coffin was discovered. Within that lay the bones of a wealthy, medieval woman. In 2013 a team excavated, removed and analysed its contents.

    Landscapes of Power (UK) 34 minutes
    Landscapes of Power is about the archaeological excavations carried out in advance of the development of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in West Somerset, England.  It captures the whole story of the archaeology of the area, from prehistoric settlement remains and evidence of Iron Age and Roman farming practices to the discovery of an important Dark Age cemetery.

    Standing With Stones: The West Country & Dartmoor (UK) 21 minutes
    If you've ever dreamed of travelling through Great Britain & Ireland, visiting the fantastic monuments that our ancient ancestors left us, then you will love this film. The result is a remarkable feature length documentary film that take the viewer on a journey of discovery, uncovering the true extent and variety of megalithic Britain and Ireland.

    See our website for full film descriptions. All films are free but a $5 donation by nonmembers is suggested to help defray costs. Limited Seating.

    • 19 Mar 2017
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • 473 S. Main St., Room 106, Camp Verde

    Grand Archaeology: Excavation and Discovery along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon -- An ArchaeoMadness Lecture

    March 19 - 10:00 AM

    Dr. Ted Neff will discuss how the Grand Canyon River Corridor Archaeology Project is a partnership between the National Park Service (NPS) and the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) that undertook archaeological excavations at nine sites along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park between 2006 and 2009. The project generated a wealth of data. In this talk I will provide a project overview and focus on the Late Archaic Period (3000 – 1000 B.C.) and Puebloan Period (specifically A.D. 1070 – 1155) settlement patterns and paleofloods.

    Ted Neff is the Archaeologist for the Red Rock Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest in Sedona, AZ. Prior to working for the Forest Service, he was with the National Park Service at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department. Ted earned a MA from Rutgers University and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. His research and practice interests include geoarchaeology, settlement patterns, and heritage resource management.

    All lectures are free but a $5 donation is suggested for nonmembers to help defray costs. Limited Seating.

    • 19 Mar 2017
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • 465 S. Main St., Room 204, Camp Verde

    Helluva Way To Treat A Soldier (BLM – USA) 59 minutes -- An ArchaeoMadness Film

    March 19 - 10:00 AM

    A century after his death, the remains of Private Thomas Smith, a 19th century “"buffalo soldier” were stolen from a remote frontier cemetery in New Mexico. Making matters worse, the perpetrator then kept the soldier’s bones in his home for thirty years. When he died at Fort Craig in 1865, Private Smith was buried with military honors. How he wound up as a macabre trophy in someone’s personal artifact collection is a focus of the documentary film “Helluva Way to Treat a Soldier.” While investigating the Fort Craig case in 2005, federal authorities soon realized they were on the trail of one of America’s most prolific looters. It was a case that ultimately emphasized the need for a shift in public attitudes regarding our nation’s historic and archaeological treasures. This documentary, which was filmed as the Fort Craig investigation unfolded, takes the viewer on a bizarre yet informative journey. The film also chronicles federal efforts to address the desecration of fallen soldiers regardless of their rank, color, or the time that has elapsed since their service.

    All films are free but a $5 donation by nonmembers is suggested to help defray costs. Limited Seating.

    • 19 Mar 2017
    • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
    • 473 S. Main St., Room 106, Camp Verde

    The Cavates of Cosmos Mindeleff: Smithsonian Architects Victor and Cosmos Mindeleff and the Study of Pueblo Architecture, 1881-1900 -- An ArchaeoMadness Lecture

    March 19 - 12:00 PM

    In 1881 the Smithsonian Institution sent 21-year-old architect Victor Mindeleff to the Southwest to study Pueblo architecture. For the next 15 years, Victor and his younger brother Cosmos would continue to examine ancient and existing Pueblo architecture in the Southwest. In 1891 Victor would produce a report called A Study of Pueblo Architecture in Tusayan and Cibola (that is, Hopi and Zuni), which was the first professional study of Pueblo architecture, and ranks as one of the classics of anthropological literature. Cosmos would build models of more than 20 pueblos and pueblo ruins that would be exhibited at the Smithsonian and at World Fairs and other expositions. Victor and Cosmos were among the first scholars to explore sites in the Flagstaff area, and were certainly the first to examine the ancient buildings as architecture. The Mindeleffs developed a relationship with the Riordans, which is documented in the Special Collections at the Northern Arizona University Cline Library.

    Dennis Gilpin carries more than 30 years of experience with all phases of archaeology. He has directed archaeological testing and data recovery at Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Pueblo, Navajo, and Euroamerican sites. He is particularly adept with Archaic period archaeology, Pueblo architecture, prehistoric agriculture, and historical archaeology. He is well known for his discoveries of early maize in the Chinle Valley, his research on the Chacoan system and the transition to modern Puebloan settlement, and his studies in Navajo archaeology and history. Also a highly regarded applied ethnographer, Dennis has conducted ethnographic research and tribal consultation among dozens of tribes in the western U.S. A past Registrar of Professional Archaeologists, Dennis serves as Senior Archaeologist, Ethnographer, and Historian in our Flagstaff, Arizona office.

    All lectures are free but a $5 donation by nonmembers is suggested to help defray costs. Limited Seating.

    • 19 Mar 2017
    • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
    • 465 S. Main St., Room 204, Camp Verde

    Saving Mes Aynak (USA / Afghanistan) 58 minutes -- An ArchaeoMadness Film

    March 19 - 12:00 PM

    Saving Mes Aynak follows Afghan archaeologist Qadir Temori as he races against time to save a 5,000-year-old archaeological site in Afghanistan from imminent demolition. A Chinese state-owned mining company is closing in on the ancient site, eager to harvest $100 billion dollars worth of copper buried directly beneath the archaeological ruins. Only 10% of Mes Aynak has been excavated, though, and some believe future discoveries at the site have the potential to redefine the history of Afghanistan and the history of Buddhism itself. Qadir Temori and his fellow Afghan archaeologists face what seems an impossible battle against the Chinese, the Taliban and local politics to save their cultural heritage from likely erasure.

    All films are free but a $5 donation from nonmembers is suggested to help defray costs. Limited Seating.

    • 19 Mar 2017
    • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
    • 473 S. Main St., Room 106, Camp Verde

    Human Response to Environmental Stress and the Collapse of Ancient Maya Civilization -- An ArchaeoMadness Lecture

    March 19 - 2:00 PM

    Dr. Jaime Awe will explain that in spite of more than a century of archaeological research in the Maya area, the reasons for the “collapse” of this civilization, or whether the collapse even took place, continues to be debated and contested by Mesoamerican archaeologists. No matter what position one takes in the debate, however, there are certain truisms that we cannot, and should not, ignore. One of these undeniable axioms is that there was widespread depopulation and subsequent abandonment of almost all major cities in the central Maya lowlands. In this paper, I argue that these eventual abandonments represent just one of several social, political and economic responses to the environmental stressors that likely led to the decline of Maya civilization. Comparisons are also made with recorded responses to similar situations in other parts of the world.

    Dr. Jaime José Awe is a Belizean archaeologist who specializes in the ancient Maya. He is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University, and the Director of the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project.

    All lectures are free but a $5 donation by nonmembers is suggested to help defray costs. Limited Seating.

    • 19 Mar 2017
    • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
    • 465 S. Main St., Room 204, Camp Verde

    First Footprints - Super Nomads: 50,000 To 30,000 Years Ago (Australia) 53 minutes -- An ArchaeoMadness Film

    March 19 - 2:00 PM

    The film tells how the Aboriginal people became the oldest living culture in the world. Across Australia are over 10 million prehistoric paintings, engravings and archaeological sites. The continent is one giant canvass telling an epic story of endurance in the face of terrifying megafauna, catastrophic droughts, rising sea levels, and massive climate shifts that caused both conflict and phenomenal cultural output over tens of thousands of years. For the first time new archaeological discoveries, stunning rock art and a wealth of never-before-seen archival footage and cinema-quality CGI reveal the epic story of 50,000 years of life in Australia. This is part one of a four-part series produced by the Australian Broadcasting Company.

    All films are free but a $5 donation by nonmembers is suggested to help defray costs. Limited Seating.

    • 11 Apr 2017
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • Cliff Castle Casino Hotel, 333 Middle Verde Rd, Camp Verde

    In this presentation, archaeologist Kim Spurr will discuss how prehistoric agriculture in the Southwest is typically equated with corn, beans, and squash. Another important crop was cotton, which provided both food and fibers for weaving. Cotton was cultivated throughout the Southwest, but had limited distribution in central and northern Arizona due to its need for ample water and a long growing season. Recent excavations and genetic studies have expanded our understanding of the role of cotton in prehistoric commerce and society. This presentation will highlight cotton textiles from the VVAC’s Dyck Rockshelter collection, as well as providing a broad background on the uses and cultural significance of cotton in the Southwest.

    Kimberly Spurr is Archaeology Division Director at the Museum of Northern Arizona and Vice-President of the VVAC. For more than 25 years, Kim has worked as a professional archaeologist in the American Southwest and the western U.S. She holds degrees in Anthropology from Colorado College and Northern Arizona University. She is adjunct faculty at Northern Arizona University and spent over a decade training Native American archaeology students in field and lab settings. Her major research interests include pre-ceramic cultures of the Southwest, prehistoric exchange systems, economic development of the historic American West, and the bioarchaeology of prehistoric and historic populations.

    This lecture series is open to the public. Admission is free to members. A $5 donation by nonmembers is suggested. 

    • 04 Aug 2017
    • 07 Aug 2017
    • Cortez, Colorado
    • 4

    The Center will hold two excavation field schools near Cortez, Colorado at Mitchell Springs site. The 2017 dates are August 4-7 and August 18-21. 

    The Member cost to attend one session is $195.

    The Non-member cost to attend the first session is $245, which includes a one-year membership. The cost to attend a second is $195, since membership was purchased with the first session. Wait until your membership is processed before registering for the second session.

    To reserve your space/spaces you must register and pay your fee at the time of registration. There is a $75 non-refundable cancellation fee.

    No experience is necessary. You will be paired with someone with experience. All materials will be supplied, unless you have your own that you would like to bring. You should be in good health as the activity is mildly strenuous. The weather can be hot, in the high 80's, so appropriate clothing, sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water is a must.

    For additional information, contact Jim Graceffa at dr.jvg@hotmail.com.

    • 18 Aug 2017
    • 21 Aug 2017
    • Cortez, Colorado
    • 5

    The Center will hold two excavation field schools near Cortez, Colorado at Mitchell Springs site. The 2017 dates are August 4-7 and August 18-21. 

    The Member cost to attend one session is $195.


    The Non-member cost to attend only the second session is $245, which includes a one-year membership.


    To reserve your space you must register and pay your fee at the time of registration. There is a $75 non-refundable cancellation fee.

    No experience is necessary. You will be paired with someone with experience. All materials will be supplied, unless you have your own that you would like to bring. You should be in good health as the activity is mildly strenuous. The weather can be hot, in the high 80's, so appropriate clothing, sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water is a must.

    For additional information, contact Jim Graceffa at dr.jvg1@gmail.com.

    • 21 Oct 2017
    • 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
    • The New Cliff Castle Casino Hotel

    October 21 - 6 pm - 10 pm

    The music of the Indiana Jones movies set between 1935 and 1939 will be featured during the 2017 benefit dinner and silent auction to benefit the Verde Valley Archaeology Center. The benefit this year will move to the NEW Cliff Castle Casino Hotel in Camp Verde. Music will be provided by the Suzannah Martin Quartet. See the event web page for more details.

    • 18 Nov 2017
    • 19 Nov 2017
    • 2 sessions
    • Camp Verde and Sedona

    November 18 and 19

    The Verde Valley Archaeology Center with the Verde Valley Sinfonietta are sponsoring a concert of Native American themes featuring Navajo flutist, R. Carlos Nakai, during National Native American Heritage Month. Watch this space for further details and ticket information.