The primary purpose of the Verde Valley Archaeology Field Seminars is to share the rich cultural history of the Verde Valley with residents and visitors. We use the term “seminar” to highlight the educational component our instructors include in every outing, but there is an equal emphasis on exploration and discovery. Visits to specific cultural sites with a trained field guide provides an educational and preservation-oriented experience. These hikes visit notable locations throughout the prehistory of the Verde Valley, letting hikers walk through the footsteps of history along the same paths that indigenous people once walked.
These seminars visit ancient dwellings. Note that we do not use the term "ruins" since the ancestors of the people who lived in these dwellings believe that the ancestral spirits still reside there. The seminars are designed around specific waterways, the vital lifelines for these ancient residents.
We will offer a unique experience that no one else can. The Verde Valley Archaeology Center is the manager of six archaeological preserves owned by the Archaeological Conservancy. As the manager of these fenced properties we alone have permission to visit. You will see these important but restricted archaeological sites.
And, unlike area tour operators, we are a nonprofit educational institution. Your fees support our preservation efforts at the Archaeological Conservancy properties and a portion is used to support special projects at the National Park Monuments.
Beaver Creek Dwellings
Wet Beaver Creek is a perennial clear stream that flows all year through a very lush and scenic desert canyon. Beaver Creek flows past the sites visited on this seminar.
The first stop will be the Yavapai-Apache Nation Cultural Center and the monumental sculpture to "The Exodus."
The second stop will be Montezuma Castle National Monument.
We will continue to the third stop, Thoeny site in Lake Montezuma, an Archaeological Conservancy site.
Oak Creek Dwellings
Most visitors to the area are familiar with Oak Creek Canyon that runs between the cities of Flagstaff and Sedona. But Oak Creek continues beyond Sedona for about 10 miles until it reaches the Verde River. These sites are private archaeological preserves of the Archaeological Conservancy.
The first stop will be the Ottens Pueblo. atop Sugarloaf Mountain.
The second stop will be the Atkinson Pueblo at the confluence of Oak Creek and the Verde River. This site has the largest free-standing pueblo wall in the Verde Valley.
Verde River Dwellings
The Verde River is a major tributary of the Salt River that runs through Phoenix. It is one of the largest perennial streams in Arizona. Little wonder that ancient cultures were drawn to this important source of water and wildlife to build major dwellings.
The first stop will be the Tuzigoot National Monument.
The second stop will be Hatalacva, an Archaeological Conservancy preserve.
All Monument Dwellings
This Seminar is designed to be an all-inclusive study of the two archaeology national monuments here in the Verde Valley.
The first stop will be the Montezuma Castle National Monument.
The second stop will be Montezuma Well, a natural limestone sinkhole that contains Sinagua dwellings.
There is also an optional third stop to the Tuzigoot National Monument that preserves a 2- to 3-story pueblo ruin on the summit of a limestone and sandstone ridge.