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VVAC Projects


Verde Valley Site Watch Program

The Verde Valley Archaeology Center promotes the importance of education about our common cultural and natural heritages and encourages public responsibility in the protection and preservation of cultural and natural resources on public lands. This philosophy incorporates the training and use of volunteers to assist in and expand the roles of public land staff in many endeavors.

Verde Valley Archaeology Site Watch (VVASW) is a program of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center in support of the Arizona Site Steward Volunteer Program (SSVP) of the Arizona State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO). The goal of Site Watch is to assist the SSVP Regional Coordinator in recruiting and training new site stewards, and to provide retraining opportunities for current volunteers. By regularly monitoring sites, problems are detected early, when they can more easily be corrected. The program seeks to bring together various hiking and other recreational groups in the Sedona/Verde Valley area to collaborate in site protection.

Click HERE for more information.

Prehistoric Ceramics Research

A Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group has been formed to examine artifacts and ceramic production materials from the Verde Valley region.  The distinctive decoration and temper for many of the identified types of ceramics can be sourced to a specific locality where the type was manufactured. This information provides excellent material to study prehistoric trade and interaction. The group meets at the Center each Thursday and Friday from 10 am to 4 pm. Interested members are encouraged to stop by and learn what is being done, or to join in their activities.


Field Surveys

Archaeological field survey is a type of field research by which archaeologists search for archaeological sites and collect information about the location, distribution and organization of past human cultures across a large area. Members conduct surveys to search for particular archaeological sites or kinds of sites, to detect patterns in the distribution of material culture over regions, to make generalizations or test hypotheses about past cultures, and to assess the risks that development projects will have adverse impacts on archaeological heritage. Surveys can be a practical way to decide whether or not to carry out an excavation (as a way of recording the basic details of a possible site), but may also be ends in themselves, as they produce important information about past human activities in a regional context.During the cooler months, the Center conducts many field surveys for the Forest Service or the Museum of Northern Arizona.  If interested in participating in a Field Survey, sign up in the Center or contact President Graceffa.

VVAC Field Survey Manual (4.35MB PDF)  

Adopt A Highway Program

The Center has been awarded a permit to participate in the Arizona Adopt-A-Highway program.  We have been assigned a one-mile stretch on Hwy 260 east of Camp Verde.  Crews visit the area for clean-up at least once a quarter.  Volunteers are provided with safety vests, grabbers and trash bags.  Crews are generally made up of four volunteers, two for each side of the road. If you would like to volunteer or learn more about this program, please contact our Program Coordinator, Ken Zoll by email or phone (928-593-0364).

Annual Excavation Field School

The Verde Valley Archaeology Center has held summer archaeology excavation field schools at the Champagne Springs or Mitchell Springs sites in Colorado since 2011.

Within the practice of excavation, numerous specialized techniques are available for use, and each dig will have its particular features, that will determine the correct approach. Resources and other practical issues do not allow us to carry out excavations whenever and wherever we choose. These constraints mean many known sites have been deliberately left unexcavated. This is with the intention of preserving them for future generations as well as recognizing the role they serve in the communities that live near them. In some cases it is also hoped that improvements in technology will enable them to be re-examined at a later date, with more fruitful results. Excavation involves the recovery of several types of data from a place where there is evidence for past human activity. These data include artifacts (objects made or modified by humans), features (modifications to the site itself such as post molds, burials, and hearths), and ecofacts (evidence for the local environment and resources being used such as snail shells, seeds, and butchered bones).

The Center may periodically participate in excavations in the Verde Valley. These often are limited to members who have gone through training. Excavation classes are held as needed.

The Colorado field schools are open to all members. No experience is necessary. Participants are 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. Lodging can be had at Dove Creek, CO or Monticello, Utah, 25 miles away. Dry camping is available at the site. Porta-potties and potable water is made available at the site. This can be a great experience for those who have never had the experience to excavate. You will learn that there is more to it then just digging. Field Schools are announced on the Calendar of Events page when a field school session is open.

 Summer Intern Program

Each Summer, with the assistance of Center staff, up to two interns are selected to assist the Center in the analysis and classification of artifacts provided by the Coconino National Forest and other institutions for accession to a curation facility, and assist in staffing the Center’s exhibit area during hours open to the public.  Interns also assist with the development of new exhibits.

During the course of the internship, interns learn to identify artifacts common to Central Arizona, including lithics and ceramics.  Center staff instruct the interns on archaeological laboratory procedures such as basic artifact analysis, digital photography and digital storage requirements. The interns are also introduced to current legal and ethical issues in archaeological curation.

Objectives of the Internship

  • Evaluate general condition of the assigned collection
  • Conduct physical inventory of collection objects to verify and annotate provided catalogue and associated documents
  • Catalogue collection according to standardized nomenclature
  • Organize collection by site number and material class
  • Replace original boxes, bags, bag labels, and object labels with archival-quality materials
  • Store documents in appropriate archival-quality containers
Intern Guidelines and Objectives