Monday, March 19, 2007

An Archaeological Misadventure and a Quick Recovery

We arrived at the Smoki meeting room for the local archaeological society meeting last Thursday evening, only to find a crowd around and about the door. Waiting for the key, which had been misplaced. For some reason or other, a chopper kept circling overhead. An omen? More likely a flight student. The stars were bright!

After a bit more waiting, an impromtu business meeting by starlight was organized and sign-up sheets for field trips and other activities were passed around under the two outdoor lights.

But slides were an important component of our speaker's presentation. Solution: a borrowed meeting room at the Activity Center next door. And away the members went.

Here's our speaker, Dr. David Wilcox, senior anthropologist at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, setting up his equipment.

And making a point. Wilcox presented some of his latest findings to support his theory that the many 11th-12th century hilltop sites found in the greater Prescott/Yavapai county region were forts and lookout sites and that later 14th century sites on Perry Mesa served the same purpose.

Substantial walls are a feature of many of the sites., which extend from the Verde west into the Baca Float territory. One of Wilcox's slides was a map locating the hilltops, showing line-of-site connections which would have worked for smoke signals.

His investigations have taken him up onto the rim and more recently, all the way to the Grand Canyon Country, where some similar sites preceded the Prescott sites. Much of Wilcox's exploration is from the air, lucky guy! But it's certainly a more effective way of pinpointing hilltop features than laborously climbing each individually.

More of the walls. If you are inclined to local archaeology adventures, visit this MNA site. This coming November (a good month, by the way) Wilcox will lead a study group to the Perry Mesa fortifications. FYI, Perry Mesa is between I-17 and the Verde River south of Meyer and north of Black Canyon City. And check the list of links to the right for the Prescott chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society.

Oops! I didn't check my links after I posted. Now I discover that the Perry Mesa field trip was last November. Guess you'll have to go there by yourself! If you are still interested in the MNA Ventures program, take a look here.


Avus said...

Who says the US ain't got no ancient history!

Granny J said...

Well, it's there, if you can find it! However, I challenge the local reenacters to go look at Mr. Avus' site where he describes making daggar, sheath and armour in the Roman style. That's reenactment in real style!!!!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. Don't think I culd take walking up and down the hills. By air, maybe.

Granny J said...

My sentiments exactly! Except that I know that I couldn't make it up those hills. In my younger days, perhaps. At least finding a wall & maybe a few potsherds would be a reward for the climb!

Avus said...

Thanks for the reference GJ - shall I put you on commission?

Granny J said...

Not necessary, Mr. Avus -- however, you could be so kind as to forgive me that careless misspelling of dagger.

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