Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Arizona Archaeological Society

The Arizona Archaeological Society was founded in 1964 as an independent, non-profit, state-wide volunteer organization. Prior to this there was no organized group in Arizona practicing responsible amateur archaeology. Sites were being destroyed by development, natural forces and vandalism and the need arose for increased public education towards protection and preservation of the sites.

The goals of the Society were to encourage better public understanding and concern for archaeological and cultural resources; to serve as a bond between professional archaeologists and nonprofessional volunteers; to foster interest in the research, protection and preservation of Arizona's cultural resources; to provide an education in archaeological techniques in order to assist the professional community; and to publish the results of the Society's scientific investigations.

The Arizona Archaeological Society today comprises approximately 1200 members in thirteen chapters throughout the state. Each chapter has a professional archaeologist as an advisor. Some of the finest professional archaeologists in the state support the AAS by providing lectures, teaching courses and offering volunteer opportunities on their archaeological projects. No archaeological research or activity is conducted by AAS members without the supervision of a professional archaeologist. In return, the Society is a dependable source of trained and qualified volunteers who assist many of the state's professional archaeologists on their projects. Society activities include monthly meetings with lectures provided by authorities in various aspects of archaeology. Hikes, field trips, field schools, courses and workshops provide further education on the archaeology of Arizona and the Southwest.

The Society has a nationally recognized Certification Program, providing knowledge and skills in a variety of archaeology-related topics. Thirty seven courses range from the introductory "Prehistory of the Southwest," which provides members with an overview of the prehistoric cultures of this region, to the more intense, skill-enhancing Field Techniques, Lab Techniques, Ceramic Analysis, Osteology, Faunal Analysis, and so forth. Courses in prehistoric technologies such as flint-knapping and ceramic manufacture are extremely popular with AAS members and serve to enhance understanding of prehistoric lifestyles.

The Society has a long and rich publication record, having published 36 monographs since 1967, as well as a number of occasional papers, chapter publications and site reports. In addition, the Society's newsletter, "The Petroglyph," is published ten times per year. The monographs, on topics relating to the prehistoric and historic archaeology of the Southwest, and published as the "Arizona Archaeologist" series, are available for sale on the AAS website at

AAS activities being offered this summer include the ongoing field school at Elden Pueblo in Flagstaff, Arizona. Courses in Field Crew I and II and Stabilization and Reconstruction will be taught during the two one-week sessions, June 25-29 and July 2-6. Located at the base of Mt. Elden, in the cool pines, Elden Pueblo is a 60-70 room Sinagua pueblo dating to the period AD 1100-1275.

In addition, the society is offering a "Site Preservation and Stabilization Course" at Q Ranch Pueblo, a 250 room, three-story pueblo dating from AD 1265 to 1380. The pueblo, on the historic Q Ranch, is situated in the pine forests near Young, Arizona. Authorities in stabilization and site preservation techniques will provide instruction in the field, and afternoon lecture sessions will be provided by a variety of guest lecturers who have conducted some of the most successful stabilization and site preservation projects in Arizona. A two-day field trip will enhance the educational component of the course. This course will provide all participants with the knowledge and practical experience to participate in future stabilization and site preservation projects. You are welcome to attend this course for one week or two. There will be sufficient hours of fieldwork and lectures in the two-week session to achieve AAS certification in this course.

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