Arizona Archaeological Society




               Above Top:  Slide Show from Sears-Kay, Agua Fria National Monument, and Gisela 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:

Feb 18:  Karen Schollmeyer of Archaeology Southwest will be speaking on The Salado Phenomenon in the US Southwest.  The Salado phenomenon has a long history of debate over its origins, geographic extent, and whether Salado refers to a cultural group, religious movement, pottery ware, or some combination of all three. Much of this debate is due to the highly variable material culture across the region where Salado polychrome dominates decorated ceramic assemblages. This talk discusses some of the variability in what archaeologists call Salado, particularly in the Tonto Basin, San Pedro Valley, and Upper Gila areas of Arizona and New Mexico, and how this religious and social phenomenon supported successful multiethnic communities during the 14th and 15th centuries.

Karen Schollmeyer grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and earned her undergraduate degree at Stanford University and her Master and Doctoral degrees from Arizona State University. She has worked on archaeological projects in the Peruvian highlands, the Ethiopian desert, and throughout the American Southwest.  Karen’s research interests include zooarchaeology, long-term human-environment interactions, and food security and landscape use.  Each summer Karen co-directs the Archaeology Southwest–University of Arizona Preservation Archaeology Field School.  Other current projects include work on prehispanic hunting sustainability in the Four Corners area.

Feb 19 and Mar 12:  Our outing will be to Tonto National Monument Upper Ruin on either one of these (2) dates: Sunday February 19th or Sunday March 12th This hike will be led and interpreted by a Tonto National Monument ranger.  Tours of the Upper Ruin are by reservation only and are always ranger-led.  

Maximum number of participants is (10) on February 19th, and (8) on March 12th.  Be sure to indicate which of the dates you'd like.  Our popular field trips tend to fill quickly.  Once the sign-up list has been filled in the order of responses received, additional responses will be placed on a standby list, also in order of response date and time.  Any cancellations will be filled from the standby list.

The Monument consists of two very well-preserved and stabilized cliff dwellings, the Lower Ruin and the more remote Upper Ruin.  These multi-storied masonry structures were built and occupied by the Salado tradition around 700 years ago, from about 1300 CE to 1450 CE.  There continues to be much conjecture and debate about the Salado: Were these people who practiced canal irrigation farming in Tonto Basin a later evolution of the Hohokam who farmed the Salt and Gila River valleys, or were they truly a separate cultural group?  The Tonto Basin Salado share so many similarities with the late Classic Hohokam, such as canal irrigation, platform mounds, and similar ceramics. However, they also have some distinctive characteristics not shared by the river valley Hohokam, including construction of Ancestral Puebloan-style masonry cliff dwellings like those at Tonto NM and in the canyons of the Sierra Ancha mountains to the east. Learn more at The Salado Culture - Tonto National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) (

Scott Wood has deep family ties to Tonto NM and Tonto Basin, since his grandfather Frank H. Zeile, who worked as an oiler on a Roosevelt Dam generator, took many photos of the cliff dwellings and other sites in the area during the 1920's. Read an interview of Scott about his grandfather at Family Ties to Tonto National Monument - Tonto National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) (  Source: National Park Service Tonto National Monument website

This day-long excursion is open to all 2023 dues-paid members of our Rim Country chapter, and if not filled by Rim Country, it will be opened up to San Tan, and Phoenix chapters as well.  Tonto NM is just off paved Highway 188, and is accessible to all vehicles. There is an entrance fee of $10 per person unless you have an Interagency Annual, Military, Senior, 4th Grade, or Access pass.  See the Tonto NM website at Tonto National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) ( for additional info.  You must be in good physical condition to do this hike. The unpaved backcountry trail is 3 miles round trip, takes 3-4 hours, and includes an elevation gain of 600 feet. You must have the ability to safely negotiate slippery rocks and large steps.  Bees are a possible hazard, so if you're allergic bring your EPI pens.  You'll also have time to see the Visitor Center and the more accessible Lower Ruin if you'd like after we return from the Upper Ruin hike.  The Lower Ruin is reached by a steep but short paved trail, a one-mile round trip hike.  To sign up for this outing contact Brent.

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