OCTOBER PHOTO GALLERY - DEBRA COMEAU - Scroll down page to see images with text



The Yavapai Chapter, based in Prescott, received its charter from the Arizona Archaeological Society in 1977, although both amateur and professional archaeologists have been active in the area since the late 1800s. From the beginning, chapter members have participated in serious scientific archaeological investigations, beginning with excavation at the Storm Site (located near Watson Lake) from 1977-1979. In total, the chapter has worked on 14 excavations and 5 rock art recordings in the Prescott area. In addition, Prescott has two Sinagua pit houses located at Willow Lake that are supervised and docent-staffed by YCAAS.

To contact us, send an email message to ycaassecretary@gmail.com. We'll be glad to answer questions or add you to our email distribution list. Or you can send us a note via postal mail at P.O. Box 1098, Prescott, AZ 86302.

General Membership Meetings. Our Chapter meets on the third Thursday of each month (except July, August, and December) at 6:30 p.m. in the Smoki Museum's Pueblo room, 147 N. Arizona Street in Prescott (the entrance is at the rear of the building). Presentations on various topics are provided by a wide range of professional and amateur experts on topics from both prehistoric and historic times. Anyone interested in the archaeology of our area is welcome.

Field Trips. The Yavapai chapter also offers field trips, usually on the Saturday of the week following the general membership meeting. These trips offer outstanding opportunities to learn firsthand more about how prehistoric peoples lived through the artifacts and architectural remnants they left behind.  And that doesn’t even begin to cover the value inherent in experiencing the beauty of Arizona’s backcountry as few ever do. Very often, these field trips require hiking. Read our hike rating guide for details.

Additionally, once or twice a year, the chapter sponsors multiple-day field trips to sites of special interest. Recent extended trips have included excursions to several pueblos in New Mexico, Tonto National Monument, the Hopi reservation, and the Chaco Canyon region. Additional fees are often required for extended trips to offset the costs incurred.

Here are a few of the recent trips that Flo Reynolds has put together for us:

2013 – Hohokam site at Sears-Kay near Cave Creek that was followed by the hike up to the Upper Cliff Dwelling at Tonto National Park. In the fall, southwest and central New Mexico was the destination with visits to the Gila Cliff Dwellings followed by the Three Rivers Petroglyphs.

2014 – Three days were dedicated to exploring many sites at Chaco Canyon and Aztec Ruin.

2015 – Fall 2015, saw intrepid travelers filling four days with memories of Mitchell Springs and Wallace Ruin located near Cortez, Colorado. Both sites are on private property owned by archaeologists who are excavating remarkable Puebloan ruins. Beyond these two sites, Flo led her group to the Anasazi Heritage Center archives, Escalante Ruin, Yellow Jacket (a pristine and protected Anasazi site) and the Lowry Pueblo. The final day was given to the Long House Ruin on Wetherill Mesa in Mesa Verde National Park

2016 - Spring 2016 - Rock Art Ranch, Petrified Forest, and Homolovi.    Fall 2016 - Zuni. We were introduced to the Zuni Pueblo including middle village and A:shiwi A:wan museum, traditional Zuni meal served in the home of Ava Hannaweeke, and Harvest Dance at Ancient Way Festival. We toured Hawikuu and had an introduction to the Zuni creation myth presented by Ken Bowekaty and a visit to the Zuni village of the Great Kivas and its petroglyphs. On our last day there, we traveled to el Morro where we were led up, over, and down the spectacular butte by Ranger Richard Green.     

2017 - Spring 2017 - Gila Bend and the Great Bend of the Gila River with visits to Sears Point, Painted Rock, site of the Oatman Massacre, and the Gatlin Site. Our tour guide was Aaron Wright.    Fall 2017 - Montezuma Canyon, Butler Wash, North Mule Canyon, and Edge of the Cedars.  (Planned with Tour Guide Dave Dove)                                                                                            

All our field trips are intended for members of the Arizona Archaeological Society and, particularly, of the Yavapai chapter.         However, guests can sometimes be accommodated.

Ready to join the Yavapai chapter? Fill out  this application   and mail it, along with your dues payment, to the address on the form.

Want to learn more? Contact: Chapter Secretary Charles Stroh to receive our meeting notices and other chapter news via email.



Congratulations, Betty

When my husband, Chuck, and I decided to move from Denver in December of 1978, we found a perfect home in the pines of Prescott. Our lifelong passion for archaeology had begun during earlier trips to the Four Corners and Chaco Canyon areas but Prescott was where we found a group of like-minded people at YCAAS.

At our first AAS meeting held in Sharlot Hall, we learned about the current excavation of the Storm Site and we signed on with great enthusiasm. Classes at Yavapai College, including certification classes in Site Survey and Excavation along with ceramic identification classes with Peter Pilles in Flagstaff, gave us the technical foundation we needed to move ahead. We both volunteered for the YCAAS Board and our long association with this fine group was set.

We participated in the Sundown Site excavation with Chuck as Site Director and I as Recorder; we continued as officers on the YCAAS Board; together, we continued to grow in our knowledge and love of SW archaeology. Gradually, as my experience expanded, I began to write papers for publication including the ceramics sections in the final reports from each excavation in which we participated, as well as the section on the burial orientation and burial goods found at the Sundown Site. By 1986, I was ready to present papers at conferences that emphasized my growing awareness of Prescott Gray Ware. Kelley Hays-Gilpin (NAU), Mary-Ellen Walsh (SWCA), Joanne Cline, and I became collaborators.

Chuck and I created an extensive photo library from every aspect of our excavations and these photos became the basis for presentations to our chapter, other AAS chapters, AAS State Meetings, and several community organizations. I was the archivist for Coyote Ruin and arranged the ceramics portion of a special exhibit at the Smoki Museum.

Sharing what I learned was important to me and I taught ceramics identification classes as well as a certification class with Andy Christenson that was approved by the AAS. I had finally received my own certification!!

As you can see, AAS and the Yavapai Chapter have been a huge part of my life for the past 38 years. Chuck and I participated in state meetings, field trips, excavations, and lab work, and chapter members became our best friends. A wide diversity of backgrounds, talents, and interests came together at the YCAAS to contribute to the best years of my life. 

And ………. I will continue to bring cookies to the meeting when it is my turn!!!

Betty Higgins, May 2017


Additional Yavapai Chapter Activities

View looking south east. Feature 2 in foreground and Feature 4 above near the top of the image to the right of center.
Feature two is a residence with entry facing east (upper center/left of image). Feature 4 is a smaller storage pit.





Training and Certification. AAS and other organizations with which it is affiliated offer courses and programs designed to train members in archaeological practices and techniques. Programs that can lead to certification in specialized areas are also available from time to time. Warner Wise is the Yavapai chapter’s certification representative. Contact Warner for more information.

Public Outreach Programs. Two of the Yavapai chapter’s objectives are to "foster interest and research in the archaeology of of Arizona and the Southwest" and to “encourage public understanding of and concern for archaeological and cultural resources." Our public outreach programs help accomplish these goals.

For example, chapter members, collaborating with the Smoki Museum, have worked with area Boy Scouts of America organizations to help scouts earn archaeology merit badges. Additional public outreach programs have been targeted toward students, church groups, recreational groups, and service clubs. Informational booths at local civic events also serve to reach our neighbors in the community and the areas. 

In 2017, the Board initiated a form of outreach that results in students who want to become members of YCAAS, being able to apply for a waiver of membership dues. The dues are paid from a fund provided by donations made for this purpose by members.

Chapter Library. The chapter maintains a specialized library of archaeology resources at the Smoki Museum. It is available to to members 30 minutes before each monthly general meeting. The Yavapai Library Network (YLN Libraries) is a resource of linked libraries. Here, you will find the Smoki Museum Research Library listed.


Debra's photographs originated in two main locations marked on the Utah map with red circles. The Fremont Culture images were

made in Sego Canyon near Green River (the upper red circle), just north of Interstate Highway 70. The Barrier Canyon images

are from an area near Canyonlands National Park (the lower red circle).

There isn't agreement on exactly what Fremont Culture was but it is known that it extended over a relatively large area of Utah as verified               by artifacts discovered at Clear Creek Canyon, Range Creek, Nine Mile Canyon, as well as Fremont Indian State Park, San Rafael Swell,         Parowan Valley, Capitol Reef National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Zion National Park, and Arches National Park.                      The Fremont are sometimes referred to in literature as a splinter group of the Ancestral Pueblo People because they lived about              the same time - 300 BCE to 1300 CE but there no consensus. The name comes from the Fremont River                                       (named after John C. Fremont) where the Fremont Culture was first identified as a distinct group by archaeologists.

These Pilling figures echo the petroglyphs insofar as there is the generally inverted triangle shape for the body with decorative        elements that suggest clothing or jewelry. The anthropomorphic figures usually have trapezoidal shaped bodies and appear        human-like. The decorative elements include headdresses and articles in the ears, around the neck and waist as well as material              in the area of the hips. Animal forms accompany these humans. Among the animals, you will find birds, snakes, deer, dogs,           bighorn  sheep, lizards, frogs, and geometric shapes that can't be easily identified.

The Pilling Figures are named after Clarence Pilling, a Utah rancher, who found eleven of them in a side canyon of Range Creek,         Utah. They are 4-6" in height and made of unfired clay that have remnants of red, black, and ochre-colored pigments. They have distinctive gender characteristics and are thought to be suggestive of how Fremont people dressed. All eleven figures are in the     collection of the Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum. The center card refers to Pilling #2 that "resurfaced" in 2011.             A short version of that story is this: After the USU Museum in Price took possession of the cay figures, they sent them on a 1960 tour of Utah. Number 2 in the series disappeared. In 2011, a Utah State University anthropologist received a mailed package containing the missing figure. Inside the package was this written message:
"Sometime between 1978 and 1982 I came into possession of this piece by way of a vagabond acquaintance. He had told of ‘acquiring’ it near Vernal, Utah. I have great interest and respect for this continent's native culture and have always hoped to somehow return this to wherever it had come from. … I am very excited at the prospect of it being returned to its proper place.”

PICTOGRAPH and PETROGLPYH:  Many readers may know about the distinction between pictograph and petroglyph, but                 some may not so bear with me.  A pictograph is a painted image on stone. A petroglyph is an image pecked into the stone surface.           A pictograph usually appears darker on a lighter stone substrate whereas a petroglyph usually appears lighter against a darker stone substrate. The drawn images, above, from Sego Canyon are petroglyphs. The Barrier Canyon images, below, are pictographs.

The pigment used in these pictographs is an earth-based mineral like iron oxide. It is a powder that is ground from its source.                  In the simplest sense, one could pick up dirt and it could become a pigment. In fact, pigments comes from a wide variety of natural sources. The powdered pigment is added to a binder which is merely a "glue" that holds the pigment together, but also acts as an adhesive between the pigment and the substrate. The binder is liquid when mixed with pigment, but dries on a surface. In the case of pictographs such as we see here, the binder is likely an animal byproduct such as fat or synovial fluids or it might be from a source like tree sap or plant juices. Once the pigment and binder are mixed together, a "brush" is created from a stick or a plant fiber that can be segmented by scraping or pounding. In these images, the pigment is an iron oxide that accounts for the reddish color.

This detail from the wall may not  be from the same time

frame as the images. It shows scratching into the stone that

is filled in with powdered pigments smeared on the stone and

in the engraved recesses, possibly by someone with manufactured

pigments that we might call "pastels or chalks." If you look carefully,

you will see lighter-colored shapes or animals beneath the smeared

pigment and graffitti on both surfaces. The reason for suggesting

pastels or chalks is that the red in this image doesn't look like

an earth-based pigment.

Pictographs are fragile and subject to deterioration from weather and UV exposure and as a result, petroglyphs are more common than pictographs. Petroglyphs tend to have a long life. Pictographs generally die young.This panel is exceptional.

This panel of Barrier Canyon style images is used to support the "alien argument."  These images are said to have been created by             aliens from another planet and evidence of extraterrestrial life. The basic assumptions grow from the large "eyes" and the "antennae"    that stand up from the heads. What are they? There isn't space here to go into that discussion but their dates coincide with residence of Fremont and/or Puebloan people in this area of Utah. Images made by creatures from outer space?


This BCS PROJECT is a very interesting paper on these images and other from the Barrier Canyon style.


 Jan. 19
Rich Lange
 Echoes in the Canyon: Cliff Dwellings of the Sierra Ancha in Central Arizona
Mar. 16
 Jerry Erhardt
1864 Expedition to the Verde Valley, a Search to Find Gold and a Capitol for the new Arizona
Apr. 20
 Scott Wood
 Perry Mesa: The Antecedents Project
 May 18
 Garry Cantley
 Archaeological Resource Crime
 June 15  Todd Bostwick
 A Game for the Gods
 July  Summer Break
Aug. Summer Break
 FALL PICNIC - August 12 - 5:30 - Hennigan's Home - Bring a dish to share.
Sept. 21
 Dennis Gilpin
The Cavates of Cosmos Mindeleff:Smithsonian Architects Victor and Cosmos Mindeleff
and the Study of Pueblo Architecture, 1881-1900
 Oct. 19
 Scott Kwiatkowski
 Prescott Culture Phase Sequence
 Nov. 16
 Rich Lange
 Rescheduled January talk
 Dec. 21


 PRESIDENT  Irene Komadina
 VICE-PRESIDENT  position open
 TREASURER  Debra Comeau
 SECRETARY  Charles Stroh
 ARCHIVIST  Chris Cone
 Bill Burkett
 position open

 Warner Wise


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