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Event Calendar

Upcoming events

    • 22 Dec 2017
    • 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
    • V bar V Heritage Site

    The winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. The Sinagua depended on accurate predictions of major astronomical events such as a solstice or equinox to allow them to prepare for important ceremonies, dances and rituals. The task of making accurate astronomical events, such as the summer and winter solstice, was assigned to the Sun Priest. To assist in determining these important dates, tools such as rock art and shadow interactions were created. The V bar V Heritage Site is one of the areas where the Sinagua created a "solar calendar" to mark the winter solstice as well as other important dates.

    On December 22, Ken Zoll, author of "Sinagua Sunwatchers" will give a presentation at the V Bar V rock art panel. The talk will begin at 1:30 with the first sun dagger appears on the ground below the rock art panel at 2:00 pm. About one hour later, a second sun dagger will appear and pierce a "Father Sun" concentric circle on the panel.

    The U.S. Forest Service V Bar V Heritage Site is located 2.8 miles east of the junction of I-17 and SR 179 on FR 618. Watch for the entrance on your right less than one-half mile past the Beaver Creek Campground. A Red Rock Pass or equivalent is required for each vehicle. There is no charge for the program.

    • 10 Jan 2018
    • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Archaeology Center
    • 17
    Register

    This class will provide a basic overview of the archaeology in the Southwest with emphasis on the Sedona/Verde Valley area. It will incorporate discussion of cultural sequences, dating systems, subsistence strategies, material culture, abandonment and the general characteristics of the major cultural groups in the Southwest.

    Two sessions are being offered during January - a Wednesday and a Saturday. These are the same classes but offered to accommodate individual schedules.

    The cost of the class is $40 for members and $50 for nonmembers. The fee includes class materials.

    • 13 Jan 2018
    • 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
    • Verde Valley Archaeology Center
    • 14
    Register

    B. Ka'imia Chrisman, M.D., will present a workshop consisting of the following: discussion of using traditional methods; the reason for choosing one wood or bone type over another to make specific items; cutting, shaping and polishing of wood and bone/antler will be taught, including the use of basalt or chert saws, sandstone or coral sanders and polishers, polishing material such as certain leaves and charcoal, and traditional paints, sealers or oils; the use of the pump drill and how one is made.

    Participants can then try their hand with such things as the pump drill, splitting and sawing bone, antler or wood to a needed shape, adzing or hatcheting on a limited basis, abrading, sanding, and polishing. In essence, you will learn the basics needed to later create a bow and arrow, tool, utensil or fishhook at home or camp using traditional methods.

    Class limited to age 15 and over please - except by consent of presenter - due to needed attention span, patience, and safety. Class Fee is $40 for members and $45 for nonmembers. Class size limited to 15 persons.

    Please bring lunch as there will be a short lunch break.

    • 15 Jan 2018
    • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Verde Valley Archaeology Center
    • 10
    Register

    Do you wonder what types of pottery is found in the Verde Valley?  Would you like to be able to identify what you see in the field?  Center President James Graceffa will present this class on how to identify the various types of pottery.  Also, learn how it was made and decorated. 

    This class is four consecutive Mondays from 9 am to Noon.  Dates of the Class are January 15, 22, 29 and February 5 and an optional field trip, date to be determined. The class is limited to members only and is $80 which includes the course book. Participants will need to bring or purchase an eye loupe (available in the Center bookstore).

    • 16 Jan 2018
    • 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Cliff Castle Casino Lodge Conference Center, 333 Middle Verde Road, Camp Verde

    Annual Meeting

    Life and Death at Ironwood Village: An Early Ballcourt Site in Southern Arizona

    This is the annual membership meeting of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center with report of officers and election of directors. Following this short 30-minute meeting, Director of Archaeology, Dr. Todd Bostwick, will described excavations in 2014 for a new shopping center that uncovered a Hohokam village in Marana, north of Tucson, on the east side of the Santa Cruz River. This site contained a previously unknown ballcourt, one of the earliest ever constructed by the Hohokam. Surrounding the ballcourt were nearly 100 pit houses and more than 250 burials, which dated to the late Pioneer and Colonial periods, circa AD 650 to 850. Located on a sloping piedmont that supported a dense stand of ironwood trees, archaeologists found artifacts and plant remains at the site that indicate the inhabitants grew corn without irrigation canals, processed Agave plants with tabular knives, and polished wooden objects with specialized polishing stones. Ironwood Village was abandoned soon after the leader of the village died and was buried with a rich array of grave offerings in the middle of the ballcourt. Dr. Bostwick will discuss the results of the excavations and show numerous photos of the artifacts that were recovered from the site.

    All lectures are free and open to the public, but a $5 donation per person at the door would be appreciated. Limited seating.

    • 27 Jan 2018
    • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Archaeology Center
    • 18
    Register

    This class will provide a basic overview of the archaeology in the Southwest with emphasis on the Sedona/Verde Valley area. It will incorporate discussion of cultural sequences, dating systems, subsistence strategies, material culture, abandonment and the general characteristics of the major cultural groups in the Southwest.

    Two sessions are being offered during January - a Wednesday and a Saturday. These are the same classes but offered to accommodate individual schedules.

    The cost of the class is $40 for members and $50 for nonmembers. The fee includes class materials.

    • 07 Feb 2018
    • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Archaeology Center
    • 18
    Register

    This class will provide a basic overview of prehistoric astronomical practices in the Southwest with emphasis on the Sedona/Verde Valley area. This class will review the current literature on archaeoastronomy and discuss important issues relating to the naked eye observation of celestial objects in the night sky. This class will sample a small portion of a large body of literature on archaeoastronomy. Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy will be included because of the influence of Mesoamerican cultures on the Southwest .

    Two sessions are being offered during February - a Wednesday and a Saturday class. These are the same class but offered to accommodate individual schedules.

    The cost of the class is $40 for members and $50 for nonmembers. The fee includes class materials.

    • 13 Feb 2018
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • The Lodge at Cliff Castle Casino, 333 Middle Verde Rd, Camp Verde

    In this Verde Valley Archaeology Field Institute presentation, Justin Parks examines the function and role of the bow and arrow in the prehistoric Southwest through the perspective of experimental archaeology. Justin examined the surviving components of prehistoric bows and compared the artifacts to replica bows to better understand the performance the southwestern bow can achieve as well as important differences between artifacts. His findings highlighted discrete differences between artifacts that likely reflect historic descriptions of rabbit bows and war bows.

    Justin Parks is an experimental archaeologist currently working as a contract archaeologist in the Southwest. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Anthropology from Northern Arizona in May of 2017.

    His thesis focused on experimental archaeology to replicate prehistoric wooden bow and arrow components to better understand the significance of southwestern archery.

    All lectures of the Verde Valley Archaeology Field Institute are free and open to the public. A $5 donation per person is suggested to help defray costs.

    • 23 Feb 2018
    • 08 Mar 2018

    SOLD OUT -- THANK YOU.

    The Center is again offering a well-paced archaeology, history and natural history tour in 2018. The tour will include the Tabasco and Chiapas regions of Mexico, the Peten region of Guatemala and the western hills and valleys of Honduras and El Salvador from February 23 through March 8, 2018 (14 days/13 nights).

    • 24 Feb 2018
    • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Archaeology Center
    • 18
    Register

    This class will provide a basic overview of prehistoric astronomical practices in the Southwest with emphasis on the Sedona/Verde Valley area. This class will review the current literature on archaeoastronomy and discuss important issues relating to the naked eye observation of celestial objects in the night sky. This class will sample a small portion of a large body of literature on archaeoastronomy. Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy will be included because of the influence of Mesoamerican cultures on the Southwest .

    Two sessions are being offered during February - a Wednesday and a Saturday class. These are the same class but offered to accommodate individual schedules.

    The cost of the class is $40 for members and $50 for nonmembers. The fee includes class materials.

    • 17 Mar 2018
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • Camp Verde Community Center, 395 S. Main St.

    North-Central Arizona’s Pre-Hispanic Ritual Racetracks

    A Verde Valley Archaeology Fair Lecture: Between A.D. 1250 and 1450, a large number of ceremonial racetracks were built at and between villages in north-central Arizona. This assemblage began as a relatively dispersed collection, stretching from the Sedona area down to Cave Creek and from the Bradshaw Mountains to the Mazatzal Wilderness. Over time, the racetrack network grew in intensity but became spatially focused atop Perry Mesa, along the middle Agua Fria River. Between 2007 and 2014, Arizona State University’s Racetrack Project located, recorded, and studied these tracks in order to better understand the role of ritual in the region's thirteenth and fourteenth century social changes.

    Will G. Russell, PhD is the Cultural Resources Manager, State Park Archaeologist, Tribal Liaison, and Site Steward Program Coordinator with Arizona State Parks & Trails.

    This Verde Valley Archaeology Fair lecture is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation per person at the door would be appreciated. Limited seating.

    • 17 Mar 2018
    • 10:00 AM
    • 18 Mar 2018
    • 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 17-18 - 10 am - 4 pm

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

    Access to the Community Center is free.



    • 17 Mar 2018
    • 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
    • Camp Verde Community Center, 395 S. Main St.

    Ancient Waterways of Life: Hohokam Irrigation Systems of the Salt River Valley

    A Verde Valley Archaeology Fair Lecture: The ancient Hohokam inhabitants of the Salt River Valley constructed an extensive system of irrigation canals that allowed them to live and prosper in the arid desert for a thousand years, a remarkable achievement for a pre-industrial society. More than a century of research by archaeologists and geomorphologists has revealed that Hohokam farmers built the largest network of canals in the New World, with more than 1000 miles of canals constructed between AD 500 and 1450. Dr. Bostwick will talk about the evolution of the canal systems, how they were engineered and maintained, and challenges the Hohokam had to overcome such as floods and droughts. In addition, ideas will be presented about how the Hohokam organized themselves in order to best manage their complex irrigation systems. Illustrations, graphs, and photographs of canals excavated by archaeologists in the Salt River Valley will be shown to help explain the amazing ingenuity and skills of the Hohokam canal builders.

    This Verde Valley Archaeology Fair lecture is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation per person at the door would be appreciated. Limited seating. 


    • 18 Mar 2018
    • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
    • Camp Verde Community Center

    La Rumorosa Rock Art Along the Border

    A Verde Valley Archaeology Fair Lecture. Join photographer and author Don Liponi for a discussion of the book "La Rumorosa Rock Art Along the Border," a survey of Kumeyaay and related artwork in Southern California, Colorado River Corridor, Western Arizona and Baja California. It is the first publication to focus on the indigenous rock art of this region. This book is testament to the historical permanence of Kumeyaay culture, and how art creation can help oppressed societies to survive cultural genocide committed against them. Almost none of the sites and photographs have ever been published.

    Don will be selling and autographing his book during the two-day Fair. The book contains over 150 color photos and interviews with Tipai Native Americans with contributions by regional Native Americans and leading archaeologists like Ken Hedges, Steve Shackley, Polly Schaafsma, Lynn H. Gamble Michael Wilken-Robertson and Ben Swadley. 

    This Verde Valley Archaeology Fair lecture is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation per person at the door would be appreciated. Limited seating. Exact room location to be determined.

    • 18 Mar 2018
    • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
    • Verde Valley Archaeology Center

    Four Corners Research - Archaeology of the Mesa Verde Region

    This is a Verde Valley Archaeology Fair Lecture.
    David Dove is the Principal Investigator with Four Corners Research. During the 10th and first half of the 11th Centuries, Champagne Springs Ruins and Mitchell Springs Ruin Group were the largest aggregated villages in the Northern San Juan Region. Evidence suggests one was built in a location designed to take advantage of enhanced hunting opportunities, while the other was built where it could take advantage of enhanced farming opportunities. Dave will present highlights the ongoing research at these two community centers.

    This Verde Valley Archaeology Fair lecture is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation per person at the door would be appreciated. Limited seating. Exact room location to be determined.


    • 10 Apr 2018
    • 6:00 AM
    • 13 Apr 2018
    • 5:00 PM
    • Catalina Inn - Catalina, AZ
    • 17

    Join the Center on a guided excursion to Northwest Chihuahua, Mexico .  This four-day trip includes the United Nations World Heritage site of Paquimé, the most important archaeological site in northwest Mexico and the American Southwest., the pottery village of Mata Ortiz, the Mormon settlements of Colonia Juarez and Colonia Dublan, and a side excursion  to the cliff dwelling of Olla Cave in the Sierra Madre Occidental.  This non-tourist part of Mexico offers a rich cultural mix of Mexicans, Mormons, and Mennonites and the spectacular landscape of the Chihuahuan Desert.  

    Trip Dates:   April 10-13, 2018

    Cost per person: $650 double occupancy; $720 single occupancy ($300 nonrefundable if cancelled) includes all transportation, tours, hotel in Mexico, entrance fees, and tips.

    Limited to 17 participants. Click HERE for a trip flyer.

    Day 01—Depart Catalina Inn, Catalina, Arizona at 6:00 a.m., to the great  archaeological site of Paquimé.  After touring the museum and ruins, check into the Nuevo Casas Grandes hotel and have dinner.

    Day 02—Breakfast in the Hotel Hacienda followed by a tour of the Mormon community of Colonia Juarez, and a discussion of Mormon settlement patterns and the agricultural economy of this part of Chihuahua.  The rest of the day will be spent in the pottery village of Mata Ortiz, visiting the homes of many artists to learn how the pots are made, painted, and fired.  

    Day 03—After breakfast in the Hotel Hacienda drive to Olla Cave, one of dozens of cliff  dwellings in this part of the Sierra Madre.  This site is particularly unique because of the large adobe structure used by the prehistoric inhabitants to store grain.  T

    Day 04—After breakfast and check-out, tour one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Colonia Dublan and then begin the return journey to the Catalina Inn arriving about 5:00 p.m.  

    Registration for this trip will open on January 10, 2018.

    Rooms at the Catalina Inn on April 9 and April 13 are NOT included if desired.

    • 10 Apr 2018
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • The Lodge at Cliff Castle Casino, 333 Middle Verde Rd, Camp Verde

    Dennis Gilpin is a professional archaeologist specializing in the anthropology, archaeology and history of the Four Corners region. He will discuss his current research on the study of the architecture of Awatovi Pueblo (A.D. 1300-1700) in northeastern Arizona, based on the excavations at the site by the Harvard Peabody Museum from 1935 to 1939.

    Dennis received his BA in anthropology from the University of Oklahoma and his MA in anthropology from the University of Arizona. He worked for the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department from 1978 to 1992, for SWCA Environmental Consultants from 1992 to 2008, and for PaleoWest Archaeology since 2008. He is best known for his discovery of early maize at sites in northeastern Arizona, his research on Chacoan outliers, his investigations of late prehistoric sites in northeastern Arizona, and his studies on Navajo archaeology and history. As a research associate at the Museum of Northern Arizona, he completed a study of the architecture of Atsinna Pueblo (A.D. 1275-1350) at El Morro National Monument, west-central New Mexico. 

    All lectures of the Verde Valley Field Institute are free and open to the public. A $5 donation per person is suggested to help defray costs.

    • 08 May 2018
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • Cliff Castle Casino, 333 Middle Verde Rd, Camp Verde

    A Colorful Past: Turquoise and Social Identity in the Late Pre-Hispanic Western Pueblo Region, A.D. 1275-1400.

    Turquoise is synonymous with the U.S. Southwest, occurring naturally in relative abundance and culturally prized for millennia. As color and material, turquoise is fundamental to the worldviews of numerous indigenous groups of the region, with notable links to moisture, sky, and personal and familial vitality. For Pueblo groups in particular, turquoise and other blue-green minerals hold a prominent place in myth, ritual, aesthetics, and cosmology. They continue to be used as important offerings, deposited in shrines and decorating objects like prayer-sticks, fetishes, and adornments. Archaeological occurrences of turquoise in contexts such as caches, structural foundations, and burials demonstrate its important, perhaps ritually oriented role in prehispanic Pueblo practices.

    Saul Hedquist, PhD, addresses the myriad uses of turquoise and other blue-green minerals in the late prehispanic Western Pueblo region of the U.S. Southwest (northeastern Arizona and western New Mexico, A.D. 1275–1400). Multidisciplinary research, including archaeology, geochemistry, and ethnography inform upon the role of turquoise in ancient social identification. I will outline stylistic variation in ornaments and painted items, patterns of placement in archaeological deposits (ritual offerings, for example), and regional patterns of mineral acquisition and exchange. 

    All lectures of the Verde Valley Field Institute are free and open to the public. A $5 donation per person is suggested to help defray costs.