Arizona Archaeological Society




                 Above Top:  Slide Show from Sears-Kay and Agua Fria National Monument Field Trips with Scott Wood.

                 Above Bottom:  Drone Video from Chaparrel Pines and Portal Field Trip  Descriptions of Past Field Trips

Link to Goat Camp Excavation Page

What's New:

Dec. 17, 10AM:  Rich Lange will present Insights Into Native Architecture in the US Southwest for the December monthly meeting. The presentation will discuss and illustrate building materials and techniques seen in pueblos and cliff dwellings in the US Southwest.  Rich Lange is the author of the AAS publication of The Arizona Archaeologist # 43 Volumes I & II, Down Along the Paayu: The History of Homol'ovi II Pueblo.  Also, he is author of  Echoes in the Canyons: The Archaeology of the Southeastern Sierra Ancha, Central Arizona (Arizona State Museum).  NOTE NEW MEETING PLACE.

Dec. 17:  Walking Tour of Shoofly Ruin just north of Payson, guided and narrated by Scott Wood.  The tour to Shoofly will depart after the Saturday morning meeting.  Sign up at the Saturday morning meeting.  Only current members of AAS may attend.

Dec. 18:  Tour of Gisela Ruins south of Payson, guided and narrated by Scott Wood, retired Tonto National Forest archaeologist.  Scott Wood spent a big chunk of his career studying the abundant Salado and Hohokam archaeology of Tonto Basin.  Scott brings these sites back to life for visitors like no one else can!  In addition to the Gisela Mound, we may visit one or two other nearby sites, time-permitting, and depending on weather, road conditions, and interest level.

Gisela Platform Mound is one of the largest Salado sites in Upper Tonto Basin, dominating the Gisela stretch of Tonto Creek.  There are at least 65 rooms in the main part of the site dating to the late Classic Period (1300-1400 AD) with a number of outlying rooms from the early Classic (1150-1300 AD) scattered around it. The core of the site appears to be a platform mound surrounded by residential rooms with a large walled cemetery and a special group of rooms probably built to facilitate trade.  It has been heavily vandalized and parts of it are buried under its own backdirt. Terrain is generally flat but a bit brushy (mesquite, cactus, and such) with some rocky areas in the ruin and lots of old potholes, so long pants and sturdy shoes or boots are a must.  There's also a nice courtyard area within the site that will be a perfect spot to enjoy our lunch!  (site description courtesy of Scott Wood)

Register by emailing Brent Reed.  Please include your AAS chapter affiliation, and a cell number in case I need to reach you the morning of the trip.  Also, please let me know if you plan to drive a higher-clearance vehicle (pickup, SUV, or jeep) and if you'd be willing to let one or more others ride with you from our meeting place out to the sites.  I'll reply to your email, letting you know if you've been added to the list for the trip, or to the standby list if the trip is already full.

Jan 14:  Field trip to Agua Fria NM Petroglyph Sites, led by Michael Clinton.  Details to be announced.

Jan 21, 10AM: Todd Bostwick will present UNESCO Rock Art Sites in Baja California for the January monthly meeting.

Goat Camp:  AAS Members will continue excavations at Goat Camp on selected Saturdays and Sundays October through December.

Goat Camp Information, Excavation, and Lab Opportunities

About our Chapter:

The Rim Country Chapter of AAS is located in Payson, AZ, at the base of

the Mogollon Rim.  Meetings generally include a guest speaker presenting

an archaeological related subject. Refreshments are served. An outing to an archaeology site is normally scheduled for the afternoon following the general meeting. The RCC, under the guidance of Archaeologist Scott Wood, is participating in the excavation of the local Goat Camp Prehistoric Ruins Site. The completion of the excavation project will likely take several years, (Note: participation in the excavation, after meeting outings, and field trips is open only to current members of the Arizona Archaeological Society.) 

Meeting Time and Place:

Meetings will be held in the morning at 10:00 am on the third Saturday of each month (except summer) unless otherwise specified.  Rim Country Chapter will be meeting at the Payson Public Library in the Rumsey Park complex at 328 N McLane Road, Payson Arizona.  Upon entering the Library foyer, turn right and go all the way to the end of the hall, last door on the left.


Chapter Membership ensures that you will receive emails alerting you to meetings, field trips, and other events.  Contact Rim Country Chapter treasurer Dennis DuBose for membership information.  You can join the Rim Country chapter of AAS with a "Single" or "Family" membership.  If you are already a member of Athrough a different chapter, you can add the Rim Country chapter to your membership by selecting "Single" or "Family" after "Dual Chapter"Membership Form

Fun Things to Do:

Geology, Archaeology, and History Guide to Badger Springs Trail

A group of geologists, archaeologists, and AAS members created the below guide for people who would like to enjoy the outdoors on Agua Fria National Monument.  It's a 12 page, illustrated guide to a incredible area with a river at the end.

Geology, Archaeology, and History Guide to Badger Springs Trail    

More on Agua Fria National Monument

Volunteer Archaeology Work at:  Goat Camp Ruin

Archaeological Sites to Visit (hours may vary):  Shoofly Ruin  Tonto National Monument (big file)

Agua Fria National Monument  Sears-Kay Ruin Besh ba Gowah Ruin  

Verde Valley Sites  Arizona Archaeological Sites

YouTubes: Drone Videos of Ruins  Rim County Museum  Sharlot Hall Museum

Archaeological Institute of America (AIA)  Heard Museum  SAR  AAHS  

Pueblo Grande Museum  Verde Valley Archaeology Center  Amerind  Crow Canyon  

Arizona State Museum   Archaeology Southwest  Grand Canyon NPS  

Museum of Northern Arizona

2022 Speakers:

Date  Speaker Topic
Sept. 17, 2022 J. Scott Wood

Getting Up to Date at Goat Camp

Oct. 15, 2022 Jim Krehbiel Site Lines and Sight Lines, further discoveries in southeast Utah
Nov. 19, 2022 David Purcell Where the Earth Breathes
Dec. 17, 2022  Rich Lange Insights Into Native Architecture in the US Southwest
Jan. 21, 2023  Todd Bostwick UNESCO Rock Art Sites in Baja California

2022 Chapter Officers:

Sharon DuBose
Vice President Chuck Eby

Dennis DuBose

Secretary Diane Seago
Board Member

Brent Reed

Board Member Marianne Connors
Board Member Chuck Howell
Chapter Advisor/Goat Camp Excavation Scott Wood
Rim Chapter/Goat Camp Webmaster jj Golio

Past Activities:

Nov. 20:  Members toured Wupatki National Monument.  Wupatki NM is located just 12 miles north of Flagstaff off Hwy 89 and is the setting for a number of stunning and well-stabilized pueblo structures.  The self-guided tour began at the Wupatki Visitors Center and Wupatki Pueblo and consisted of driving in our own vehicles from there to (3) additional pueblo complexes within the monument, with a short hike from the parking areas to each of these structures.

Wupatki NM was created in 1924 to protect and preserve numerous standing pueblo structures, and now consists of more than 35,000 acres.  It is located in the open savannah of the Colorado Plateau east of the San Francisco Peaks.  There is evidence of archaic occupation in the area, going back at least 8,500 years BCE.  The pueblos on the monument, which number in the hundreds, were built during the AD 1100's by a culture known as the Northern Sinagua.  These folks dry-farmed the area using terraces, check-dams, and other structures to control and retain natural rainfall runoff, cultivating corn, squash, beans, tobacco, and cotton.  Prospects for farming in this area were greatly enhanced by the eruption of Sunset Crater Volcano around 1085 AD.  The eruption left a thin layer of volcanic cinder mulch, which improved water retention for the underlying topsoil.  The Sinagua have strong influences from both the Ancestral Puebloans to the north and east, and the Hohokam to the south, and may have originated from migrations and blending of both of these groups.

Several of the pueblos were excavated by Jesse Walter Fewkes during the late 1890's, and additional later work was done by Harold Colton and others.  Many well-preserved wooden beams were found in the Wupatki structures, providing the foundation for some of A. E. Douglass's pioneering dendrochronology research.  Initially a lot of reconstruction work was done on the structures, but most of that was later removed due to potential inaccuracies, in favor of stabilization to clear and preserve walls as they were found.  These stabilization efforts are an ongoing process today.

Nov. 19, 10AM:  David Purcell, Where the Earth BreathesOur guest speaker David Purcell spoke on Archaeological and Ethnographic Investigations of Blowholes and Earth Cracks in Wupatki National Monument.  The Museum of Northern Arizona and the National Park Service collaborated on an intensive inventory around the known locations of six previously identified geological fissures in Wupatki National Monument during 2021. The survey identified 47 isolated cultural features or artifacts, and 160 features associated with 23 archaeological sites, 22 of which were previously recorded. One new site, an earthcrack already known as Sipapu Cavern, was documented. Wupatki contains many fissures, some of which are connected to underground voids that take in and exhale air regularly, or ‘breathe.’ Many of the breathing fissures or “blowholes” are associated with prehistoric Sinagua villages and historic shrines. The project examined the archaeological remains associated with blowholes and non-breathing “earth-cracks” and the significance of these features in Native American traditional knowledge.

Nov. 5: Field Trip to AtkesonAtkeson Hilltop Site Hilltop Site in Verde Valley  Rim Country Chapter Secretary Diane Seago arranged this tour of Atkeson Pueblo guided by Ken Zoll of the Verde Valley Archaeological Center.  This site, owned by the Archaeological Conservancy, is usually not open to the public. Atkeson Pueblo is one of a number of prehistoric sites located in regularly-spaced intervals of around 2 miles along the upper and middle Verde River and its tributaries.  It has the tallest free-standing pueblo wall remaining in the Sedona/Verde Valley area. It dates from the Late Tuzigoot Period (1100 to 1350 AD), probably about 1300 or 1350 AD, since there is Jeddito Yellow Pottery present. Jeddito Yellow is coal fired pottery from the Hopi Mesa area. The site also features “cavates,” shallow caves partly natural but enlarged by prehistoric occupants.

October 15:  Jim Krehbiel, Site Lines and Sight Lines, further discoveries in southeast Utah.  Our guest speaker was Jim Krehbiel, Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at Ohio Wesleyan University.  In his illustrated presentation, Jim discussed his astronomical research at Ancestral Pueblo sites in southeast Utah.  He made a chronological presentation showing alignment systems employed by Basketmaker III, as well as Pueblo I, II and III cultures.  New findings provided insights about one lunar alignment pattern in particular.  Jim also discussed how alignments are sometimes clustered in groups from a common site location or shrine and how this may reflect the identity of a site’s occupants and usage.

After the Chapter Public Meeting, there was a hike to the Vista Acres site near Payson.  Following a half mile hike over brush and grassland hill and dale, the hike group arrived at several clusters of boulders with a few to many petroglyphs on them.  A short distance away on a lower terrace there were two more boulder groups with petroglyphs.  Jim Krehbiel and Natalie Cunningham accompanied the Rim Country Chapter Group and made many comments and took many photographs. 

Sept. 17:  J. Scott Wood presented Getting up to Date at Goat Camp Ruin.  It was a PowerPoint presentation of the latest work completed in the Spring for the Chapter's Goat Camp Ruin excavation and interpretive development project.  Scott Wood has been leading the still ongoing all-volunteer excavation of the Goat Camp Ruin.  Goat Camp Ruin is a small prehistoric Northern Salado masonry village of some 25 rooms from the Hohokam Classic Period (1150-1450 CE).  Earlier the site was one of the largest pre-Classic Hohokam pithouse villages in the Payson area.  And the site has evidence of a later Apache reoccupation.  Goat Camp Ruin is mostly owned by the Town of Payson.  The Town proposes to develop this site into a small interpretive archaeological park and a point of interest along the Payson Area Trail System.  However, in the meantime it has been under excavation for some ten years by AAS members.  After the meeting, Archaeologist Scott Wood conducted a narrated guided tour of Goat Camp Ruin.

Prehistoric Tray VVACMay 21 Verde Valley Archaeology Center Dyck Collection Tour:  Rim Country Chapter had a Docent-led tour of the new VVAC facility and museum with the Dyck Collection of perishable artifacts.  This included the expanded Dyck Exhibits.  For those of you not familiar with this collection, the Dyck collection contains a large number of well-preserved wooden, reed, hardshell squash, and gourd artifacts. Some of these are raw materials stockpiled for use later in time, others are modified and used for unknown purposes, while others were worked for specific tasks.  These included digging sticks and wooden hoes for planting seeds, equipment to start fires, paddles for making pottery, wooden sticks and other flat tools, sticks used as applicators for applying pitch as an adhesive and other purposes, throwing sticks for hunting rabbits, and bows and arrow foreshafts for hunting small and large game.  Mexican Restaurant for Lunch was followed by Fort Verde State Historical ParkPhoto summary VVAC, Salt Mine, and Fort Verde.

April 23 Field Trip to Prehistoric Payson & Pine Ruins in Two Gated Communities:  Dale Bellisfield guided this tour of gated community sites, one in Payson and one in Pine.  The Chaparral Pines site, contemporary with Goat Camp, includes a 12-room residential site, with two plazas.  Tree ring dates put the last site activity around 1280, about when the general abandonment of the Payson area was in process.  Photos   Trip Report  The Portal IV site has a stunning view of the Mogollon Rim to the north.  It consists of a walled compound, surrounding a three-room structure.  It was initially thought to be a hilltop fortification, but evidence does not support that, nor that it was a habitation or a signal tower. Recent thought suggests possibly a hilltop ritual enclosure.  It is believed that the site was built between 800 – 1100 AD with radiocarbon dates found between 1020 – 1224 AD.