Arizona Archaeological Society




Had enough of the doldrums of summer? Ready to get back to work and throw some dirt?

Me too.

So, our first day back in the field this Fall at Goat Camp Ruin will be this Saturday, Sept. 25. It will be warm but the high is expected to be below 90. Our standard work day for a Saturday – 0900-1500 – should be OK.

As I believe I told y’all previously, we will be starting the season under our COVID protocol again, which mean we’ll just work Saturday and wear masks. If everyone on the crew for that day has been vaccinated, we may consider mask-optional for the vaxxed. If not vaxxed, you will be required to wear a mask in any case. Hopefully as the season progresses and perhaps more people come to their senses and the situation improves (yeah, right…) we can revisit the whole protocol, but for now, to be safe, we’ll be following it.

Which also means that we will have to follow the crew size limit from last season. So, if you want to participate, please let me know ahead of time so that I can send out a roster by Thursday.

OK, any questions, you know how to find me.

Saturdays:  9/25, 10/9, 10/23, 11/13, 11/27, 12/11 – but keep the associated Sundays open, since you never know when conditions might change, people might get smarter, I might change my mind, or asteroid Bennu might change its orbit… Trust me, it sucks having to be responsible at my age. Stay tuned for notices the week before each field day.

See y’all (or at least the parts of you not covered by your masks) in a month!

Cheers and stay safe,


Scott Wood, retired Tonto archaeologist and Rim Country Adviser, leads the excavations at Goat Camp.  Participants must be members of AAS.  Scott's contact information

Thursday June 17, 2021: Watch the youtube of this presentation
        Old Pueblo Archaeology Center’s “Third Thursday Food for Thought” free Zoom online program featuring “The Goat Camp Ruin Project: Volunteer Archaeology in Central Arizona” presentation by archaeologist J. Scott Wood

Join retired Forest Service archaeologist J. Scott Wood as he tells about the Goat Camp Ruin project he has been conducting for the last 13 years for the Town of Payson in the highlands of central Arizona. Sponsored by the Arizona Archaeological Society, this project eventually will result in this important Northern Salado site being developed for interpretation and incorporated into the Town’s recreational trail system. Goat Camp Ruin began as one of the earliest and eventually largest pre-Classic Hohokam pithouse villages in the area. As it continued its occupation into the Classic Period (1150-1450 CE) it transformed into a smaller masonry village, which is where this all-volunteer project has concentrated its effort. At its height it contained over 20 rooms and has evidence of a later Apache reoccupation. The excavation phase is still ongoing, but will be coming to an end in a year or so as stabilization of structures and preparation of the site for visitation take over. Scott’s presentation will walk you through the highlights of a decade’s worth of excavation, the site’s place in Payson area history, and the fate of the Northern Salado as they were caught up in the Great Drought of the late 13th century.

Getting started on the excavation of Goat Camp Ruin’s
Room 1 eight years ago
, photo courtesy of Scott Wood

Goat Camp Ruin is located in Payson and was occupied from about 750 to 1280 AD.  The site was originally a Hohokam colony that continued to be occupied through the Classic Period.  The Classic Period occupation is called "Payson Tradition" or "Northern Salado".  After several changes in ownership and extensive pot-hunting, the city of Payson took over ownership of the site. The Rim Country Chapter, with Scott Wood’s assistance, proposed creating an archaeological interpretive site as well as a hiking trail for this 6-acre parcel of land, similar to that of nearby Shoofly Ruin. Scott has led groups of volunteers each spring and fall for the past few years excavating and interpreting areas within the overall complex. The goal is not rebuilding or total excavation, but knowledge and public education through an interpretive package.  The Shoofly excavation reports are at the bottom of the Rim Chapter webpage.

Ceramic Checklist                                 First Season Report

Site Map                                                Second Season Report

Master Development Plan             Third Season Report 

Excavation and Stabilization Plan       Fourth Season Report

Goat Camp 2018 Fall Plan           Fifth Season Report   

Goat Camp 2019 Spring Plan                Sixth Season Report

Goat Camp 2020 Spring Plan                Seventh Season Report

Goat Camp 2020 Fall Plan Rev           Eighth Season progress impeded by pandemic         

Goat Camp 2021 Spring Plan                 Ninth Season Report

Virus Protocol Rev


         SCREENING                                                                            CLEANING ARTIFACTS


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