Arizona Archaeological Society



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The San Tan Chapter formed in May 2008 and was formally chartered as a member of The Arizona Archaeological Society on October 4, 2008. The Arizona Archaeological Society is an independent nonprofit corporation. Members are eligible to participate in field trips, excavations, surveys, lab work, and other areas of archaeological interest. Each member also receives a copy of the annual publication of the Society, The Arizona Archaeologist, together with the monthly newsletter, The Petroglyph. The San Tan Chapter meets at 7 PM, the second Wednesday of each month September through May, at the San Tan Historical Museum located at 20425 S Old Ellsworth Rd, Queen Creek 85142.  Monthly meetings are free and open to the public. 




Join one of our meetings for a closer look at:

San Tan Chapter of the

Arizona Archaeological Society

Learn about Arizona Prehistory!

Meet Professional Archaeologists! Participate in field trips and classes

Meetings are free and open to the public

The Second Wednesday of each month

September through May, meetings start at 7 p.m.

We meet at the San Tan Historical Society Museum

(The Historic Rittenhouse School)

Southeast Corner of Ellsworth and Queen Creek Roads




   These 12 Unbelievable Ruins In Arizona Will Transport You To The Past --- compiled by Monica Spencer


   These 12 Trails In Arizona Will Lead You To Extraordinary Ancient Ruins --- compiled by Monica Spencer




Wolfkiller: Wisdom from a Nineteenth-Century Navajo Shepherd

recorded by Louisa Wade Wetherill / compiled by Harvey Leake

"Fascinating history and compelling storytelling make Wolfkiller, the memoir of a Navajo shepherd man who lived in the Monument Valley region of the Southwest, a page-turning epic. In these stories compiled by Harvey Leake, Wolfkiller shares the ancient wisdom of the Navajo elders that was passed to him while a boy growing up near the Utah/Arizona border. Wolfkiller's story was recorded and translated by pioneer trader Louisa Wade Wetherill, an unlikely pairing that came together when she moved to this remote area of southern Utah in 1906. Wetherill recognized that Wolfkiller was a man of exceptional character, with lessons and wisdom of the Navajo that deserved to be recorded and preserved for the benefit of future generations.

Over the course of many years, Wolfkiller told his stories to Wetherill who translated them into English. When the manuscript was completed in 1932, modern society was simply not ready for it. Rejected by publishers, the document languished in the family archives until today, long after Wolfkiller and Mrs. Wetherill were gone, it can now be recognized as a unique and profound book that speaks to modern culture's compulsive rush away from nature.

Included are photographs of Wolfkiller and the Wetherills, all taken from about 1906 to 1926. More than forty other historical photographs are also included.

"If Mrs. Wetherill could be persuaded to write on the mythology of the Navajos, and also on their present-day psychology-by which somewhat magniloquent term I mean their present ways and habits of thought-she would render an invaluable service. She not only knows their language; she knows their minds. . . ." Theodore Roosevelt, after visiting the Wetherill trading post in 1913 " --- copied from

From : Doug Craig, Archaeologist Northland Research

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed written by Jared Diamond

Content. Collapse arose as an attempt to understand why so many past societies collapsed, leaving behind ruined or abandoned temples, pyramids, and monuments as romantic mysteries to baffle subsequent visitors and modern tourists. Why did societies that were as powerful as the Khmer Empire, and as brilliantly creative as the Maya, abandon the sites into which they had invested such enormous effort for so many centuries? Archaeological and paleoclimatic studies of recent decades have documented a role of environmental ------- Jared Diamond

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus written by Charles C. Mann

"Riveting and fast-paced ... masterfully assembles a diverse body of scholarship into a first-rate history of Native America" — Publishers Weekly •"A journalistic masterpiece"— New York Review of Books •"Marvelous ... a sweeping portrait of human life in the Americas before Columbus"— New York Times •"A landmark of a book that drops ingrained images of colonial America into the dustbin one after the other"— Boston Globe





The Three Sisters - Ancient Cornerstone of American Farming

'The "Three Sisters" plants as pre-historic Indians grew them corn, squash, and bean. These food sources, were the foundation of so many Indian cultures across North America, including the Hohokam here.  Until the Spanish introduced wheat, and domestic animals, the Three Sisters, supplemented with Mesquite pods, agave, and hunting  game, were all they had to eat.' (source K.Johanson)


From the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies :Pottery Typology Project

From the U.S. BLM and the Society of Historical Archaeology : Historic Glass Bottle Identification and Information Website

Maya Sites - Science Museum of Minnesota      ----:)     link

Radiocarbon Dating ( source )      ----:)     link   

The Hohokam  ( source )                ----:)     link

Dating Techniques - e-learning platforms La "Sapienza" University of Rome -:) link 


WHAT'S OLD IS NEWS: ( source; various ) 

ASU scientist finds advanced geometry no secret to prehistoric architects in US Southwest

Dr. Sherry Towers, a professor with the ASU Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center, uncovered these findings while spending several years studying the Sun Temple archaeological site in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, constructed around A.D. 1200.

Gallery:Archaeological mysteries hidden in satellite images by Sarah Parack a 2016 TED Prize winner

13th Century Maya Codex long shrouded in controversy, proves genuine -- Brown University

How Do We Know When a Hunk of Rock is Actually a Stone Tool by Maggie Koerth-Baker ---:) link

Top 10 Archaeology Discoveries for 2016 complied by Heritage Daily ---:) link

Computer Models Find Ancient Solutions to Modern Problems - Washington State University

Inner Workings: Ancient teeth reveal clues about microbiome evolution ----:)     link 

Virus-detected-ancient-pottery ----:)     link 

Montezuma Castle ----:)     link 

Ritual Drinks in the Pre-Hispanic US Southwest and Mexican Northwest ---:)   link

A Secret Tunnel Found in Mexico May Finally Solve the Mysteries of Teotihuacán  ---:)   link

 A Pendant Fit for a King  ---:)   link  UC San Diego

Chapter News

San Tan Chapter 2017

Hello San Tan Chapter members, in 2016 one of our chapter members (Jim Britton) was recognized for his passion and hard work to preserve Arizona Archaeology.  He received the AAS's Avocational Award for 2016.

Congratulations Jim Britton 


The San Tan Chapter meetings are held at the San Tan Historical Society Museum at 20425 S Old Ellsworth Rd in Queen Creek (on the corners of Queen Creek Rd and Ellsworth Loop Rd.) They are held the second Wednesday of each month from September to May. The presentation begins at   7 PM. For more information on our chapter, contact Marie Britton at 480-390-3491 or Earla Cochran at 489-655-6733.



April 12, 2017 Meeting :   

April 12: Garry Cantley, Regional Archaeologist for Bureau of Indian Affairs; Archaeological Resourches and Crime Prevention.

Garry will discuss the Archeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), the one of the federal government’s tools against looting of archeological resources on federal and Indian land. Besides giving an overview of the law, he will intersperse the presentation with discussion of previous ARPA investigations.

Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (Pub.L. 96–95 as amended, 93 Stat. 721, codified at 16 U.S.C. §§ 470aa470mm), also referred to as ARPA, is a federal law of the United States passed in 1979 and amended in 1988. It governs the excavation of archaeological sites on federal and Indian lands in the United States, and the removal and disposition of archaeological collections from those sites.[1]

ARPA was launched in the 1970s after the Antiquities Act of 1906 was declared “unconstitutionally vague”. The Antiquities Act was unable to protect historical sites from criminal looting. Several attempts by the federal land-managing agencies and prosecutors to use this act resulted in judges saying that it was unconstitutionally vague making it unenforceable.(Harmon 172) ARPA regulates access to archaeological resources on federal and Indian lands. Uniform regulations were issued by the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Department of Defense. Archaeological resources are defined as "Any material remains of human life or activities which are at least 100 years of age, and which are archaeological interest."(King 252) Also defined is "Of archaeological interest" which is "Capable of providing scientific or humanistic understandings of past human behavior, cultural adaption, and related topics."(King 252) ARPA forbids anyone from excavating or removing archaeological resources from federal or Indian land without a permit from a land managing agency. ARPA also forbids any sales, purchase, exchange, transport, or receipt. Those who violate can face substantial fines and even a jail sentence if convicted. They will also confiscate any object that has been declared as an archaeological resource. 


Last Month:  

March 2017 Meeting :    THE SEARCH FOR WATER ON MARS

 Dr. Nadine G. Barlow, Department of Physics and Astronomy,  Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ  86011-6010



Nadine Barlow became interested in astronomy during a 5th grade field trip to a local planetarium. She began her career in astronomy at Palomar Community College in San Marcos, CA, and received both her Bachelor of Science degree (Astronomy with a joint minor in Geology and Chemistry) and her PhD (Planetary Sciences with a minor in Geophysics) from the University of Arizona. She was a post-doctoral fellow at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, TX, a National Research Council Fellow at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, and an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where she also served as the first Director of the UCF Robinson Observatory. She joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in August, 2002, and is now a Professor in the department. She is Director of the NAU/NASA Space Grant Program and an Associate Director of the Arizona Space Grant Consortium. She also serves as Associate Chair for the NAU Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Dr. Barlow’s research interests include the evolution of the impact cratering record throughout the solar system, the geologic evolution of solid-surfaced planets, and determining the distribution of subsurface water reservoirs on Mars, Mercury, and the Moon. Her current research projects include determining the formation mechanism of central pits inside impact craters across the solar system, constraining the timing of the contraction of Mercury, investigating the role of water and ice in the evolution of the Arabia Terra region of Mars, and determining the evolutionary relationships between unusual craters found at high latitudes on Mars. She also has participated in NASA and international working groups on identifying Special Regions on Mars, which are areas where life could exist or where terrestrial microbes could survive. Her research is funded by NASA with additional student research support provided by the NASA Space Grant Program. She is the author of Mars: An Introduction to its Interior, Surface, and Atmosphere, published by Cambridge University Press in 2008, and is currently working on a revision to that book. She also is working on a book about Martian impact craters for Cambridge University Press.

Dr. Barlow’s contributions have been recognized in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who of American Women, and Who’s Who in the World. She was named the American Association of University Women Texas Woman of the Year in 1992, received the University Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award from the University of Central Florida in 2002, was named Palomar College Alumna of the Year in 2003, and received the NAU Research and Creative Activity Award for Most Effective Research Mentor in 2011. Asteroid 15466 Barlow is named in honor of her contributions to the field of planetary science.

February 2017 Meeting :

Feb 8: Harvey Leake: Wetherill Family 

February Speaker, Harvey Leake, will give a presentation titled: "We are particular to preserve: The Wetherills and their Archaeological Investigations on the Colorado Plateau"

Harvey Leake will discuss the activities of his ancestors, the Wetherill family of Mancos Colorado, regarding their archaeological investigations on the Colorado Plateau. Over a span of many decades, the Wetherill brothers and some of their descendants passionately worked to uncover and preserve the prehistory of the region. The speaker will share historic family photographs that illustrate their involvement at Mesa Verde, Grand Gulch, Chaco Canyon, Navajo National Monument, and beyond.

More than thirty years ago, Harvey Leake began researching the history of his pioneering ancestors, the Wetherills of the Four Corners region. His investigations have taken him to libraries, archives, and the homes of family elders whose recollections, photographs, and memorabilia have brought the story to life. His field research has led him to remote trading post sites in the Navajo country and some of the routes used by his great-grandfather, John Wetherill, to access the intricate canyon country of the Colorado Plateau. Harvey was born and raised in Prescott, Arizona. He is a semi-retired electrical engineer.

January 2017 Meeting :

Jan 11: Doug Craig, Archaeologist Northland Research; Hohokam Sites in Casa Grande National Park area.

January Meeting: The speaker for our January meeting will be Douglas Craig who will be speaking about Casa Grande Ruins in the Hohokam World. He will discuss work in and around Casa Grande and how it fits with current ideas about Hohokam. Dr. Craig has been a professional archaeologist in southern Arizona for more than 30 years and has been employed by Northland Research, a private environmental consulting firm, since 1993.  For the past 15 years he has served as Senior Archaeologist and Principal Investigator for most of Northland’s Arizona projects. Dr. Craig has directed large-scale excavations at prehistoric sites across the southern Southwest, including the Grewe site near the Casa Grande Ruins and the Meddler Point platform mound site in the Tonto Basin. His published studies have focused on Hohokam social and political organization.

 December Meeting :Dec 14, Dr. Todd Bostwick, Exec Dir VVAC; The Dyck Rock Shelter; A Sinagua Habitation Site Overlooking Beaver Creek in Central Az



November Meeting : Nov 9, Matt Guebard, Tuzigoot Ruins Park Supervisor;Cavates in Camp Verde and Montezuma Castle Park.  Matt will provide update on the current research at Montezuma Castle National Monument.

Matt Guebard, who is stationed at Tuzigoot National Monument has worked in the American Southwest for over 13 years. He received his MA in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University in 2006. Matt specializes in the preservation, management and public interpretation of cliff dwellings in Central Arizona. His research interests include prehistoric architecture, cultural resource management and the historical development of National Park Service in the American Southwest.




May 10: Jerry Ehrhardt, AAS Verde Valley Chapter; General Crook Trail or Agriculture in VV-Sinagua Farming Methods.

Sept. 13: Dr. Charles Adams, Rock Art Ranch to Homolovi; 1300 years of migration in the little Colorado River Valley.

Oct. 11: Hugh Grinnell, Az Humanities speaker: The Explorations of George Bird Grinnell, The Father of Glacier National Park.

Nov. 8: Jerd Smith, Tempe Historical Museum, "New Data on Historic Tempe"

Dec. 13: Steve Hoza, Curator HuHugam Museum, Massacre on the Gila: an Account of the Last Major Battle Between American Indians with Reflection on the Origin of War


Chapter Officers
 2017 Office  Office Holder Contact Information
President Marie Britton

Vice-President open
Treasurer Earla Cochran
Secretary Cindy Kristopeit
Director1/ Carlos Acuna
Director2/Program Director Jerri Freeman 928-587-2410
Director3/Archivist Keith Johanson
Membership Marie Britton

Archaeological Advisor Gina Gage

Chapter Meetings

The San Tan Chapter meetings are held at the San Tan Historical Society Museum at 20425 S Old Ellsworth Rd in Queen Creek on the corners of Queen Creek Rd and Ellsworth Loop Rd. Use the access road just south of the Queen Creek Rd (it goes east) then turn north on to Old Ellsworth Road.  Monthly meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month from September to May.  The presentation begins at 7 PM.  For more information on our chapter, contact Marie Britton at 480-827-8070  . 

Parking is behind the museum; enter via the front door. The road into the museum has been redesigned, leaving only 3 spaces in front to park.  Monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Please Note: ONLY Members of AAS can participant in Workshops and Field Trips. Field Trip participants will be required to sign an AAS Liability Release Form.

Memberships run on the calendar year.

Upcoming events

Events  ( must be a current AAS member)

January 2017

Field Trip: On Jan. 22nd                  RESCHEDULE FOR FEBRUARY 

Hieroglyphic Trail in the Superstitions located near Gold Canyon AZ.   A medium hike with petroglyphs at the end of the trial.  More details on the trail are available at:


The Phoenix Chapter is inviting the San Tan Chapter to participate in their 1st Field Trip of 2017 (see below).

January Field Trip: On Jan. 28th, Aaron Wright will lead an all-day field trip to Oatman Point (in the Gila Bend area) to see petroglyphs, the village site, and the historic massacre site. 4WD, high-clearance vehicles are required. It will be rough hiking, with no trail, through thorny vegetation; hopefully the snakes will still be asleep. We will carpool (truck pool?) from the Gila Bend area. This is a fantastic site and well worth seeing in spite of the challenges. With Aaron along we will learn a lot - and no test! You must be an AAS member, priority given to Phoenix Chapter members; YOU MUST SIGN UP FOR THIS TRIP. Further details on time and meeting place will be sent to those who sign up. Sign up at the meeting or email Phyllis at


Field Trip:  February 16, 2017  CANCELED


Hieroglyphic Trail in the Superstitions located near Gold Canyon AZ.   A medium hike with petroglyphs at the end of the trial.  More details on the trail are available at:



Annual Archaeology Expo :  The event will be held at the Himdag Ki Museum in Topawa (south of Sells) on March 4, 2017. The Expo is open to the public and is Free.  

 Field Trip:  March 18th 

Adamsville Ruins Field Trip Florence Arizona led by Doug Craig, Archaeologist Northland Research


 MARCH 18, 2017 AT THE WALMART PARKING LOT WEST SIDE 1695 N Arizona Blvd, Coolidge, AZ

"Adamsville is a large Classic Hohokam habitation site, dating from AD 1100 to AD 1450, consisting of a platform, mound, at least one compound, a ball court, and 41 associated mounds of which some still have standing architecture. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is located near the 19th century town for which it is named. It’s the second largest Hohokam housing area along the Canal Casa Grande, second only to the combined communities of Grewe and Casa Grande. The current size of the site is 155 acres of which 126 acres are proposed for addition to Casa Grande National Monument. The site is threatened by encroachment from commercial development and the State of Arizona is not able to provide adequate protection."  --- from the Arizona Preservation Foundation


May 13, 2017
Superstition Mountain Museum located at 4087 N. Apache Trail in Apache Junction.   Demonstration of the Cossak 20-Stamp Ore Mill, mining equipment can be viewed in action on SATURDAY May 13th.






Chapter Projects

  • Desert Wells Stage Stop - stabilization and repair of rock walls.

The Arizona Stage Company, operating after 1868, is believed to have used this old Andrada homestead as a respite from the Arizona Territory heat until approximately 1916.      

The early settlers described it as a simple one room building about ten foot square, constructed of rock with a mud and thatched roof.  There was a trough running around three of the sides, which was used for watering the horses, a porch on the south side and a well with windmill close by to keep the trough filled.  It had one four-foot door on the south side, and small gun ports instead of windows.

The site was a rest area and watering stop for the horses and mules used by freight wagons and the stage line that came from Florence via Olberg, and continued through the gap in the San Tan Mountains to Mesa, Arizona.

Even though this was a small spur stop, it holds a significant role in Queen Creek’s history and folklore, and is treasured by the community. If your interested in volunteering for this project please email us at

  • Stabilization of the San Tan Historical Museum. 

The historic Rittenhouse Elementary School, home to the San Tan Historical Society & Museum, was placed on the Arizona Historical Registry in 1990 and accepted by the National Registry of Historic Places in 1998. To donate your time or services to this ongoing restoration project, or to volunteer as museum interpreters please contact us:  The Museum is open every Saturday from 9am to 1pm and is open to the public, free of charge.  

The three-room, U-shaped building was named after Charles Rittenhouse and was used for classes from 1925 to 1982. The school is constructed of Arizona red brick with white trimmed transommed windows. Two roll-down dividers separated the three rooms, and a small stage was equipped with an abbreviated fly loft. Over time, changes were made to accommodate the needs of the growing community.

Some of the original playground equipment is still available for viewing. Antique farm equipment rests in the school yard north of the schoolhouse, reflecting a time when the local economy was based on agriculture. There are many new displays, pictures and historical information inside the classrooms. Please visit the historic Rittenhouse School now called the San Tan Historical Museum For more information visit our webpage at

Other: Cultural Sites Nearby





Informative Web Sites 









Crow Canyon Archaeology Center 

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

© Arizona Archaeological Society
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