Archaeological Society to explore Prehistoric Sinagua Agricultural Features and Water Harvesting Techniques of the Verde Valley

The next monthly meeting of the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society will be Thursday, April 27, in the Community Room of the Sedona Public Library in West Sedona, 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona, at 7 pm.

The evening’s program, presented by Jerry Ehrhardt, will be: Prehistoric Sinagua Agricultural Features and Water Harvesting Techniques of the Verde Valley.

For the last 15 years, members of the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society have been conducting reconnaissance field surveys to find and record unknown archaeological features in the Verde Valley.

They have recorded over 500 previously unknown prehistoric sites that date between A.D. 800 and 1300 in this volunteer effort. During the first two years of this project, they surveyed Lincoln Canyon near the Honanki Pueblo ruins in the north part of the valley, but the majority of these surveys have been conducted in the foothills of the Mogollon Rim south of Camp Verde in the areas of Black Mountain Canyon, Sycamore Canyon, and Fossil Creek.

These site recordings include large and small pueblos, small habitations, field houses, agave roasting pits, agricultural plots, terraced features and rock bordered gardens, and natural and manmade water collection features that sustained the Sinagua populace in these areas of the Verde Valley for almost 500 years.

A review of the water resources and types of soil in each of the above areas along with the unique agricultural features and ingenious methods of water harvesting will be presented.

Ehrhardt graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in mechanical engineering and was employed by the Department of Defense for 37 years. An avocational archaeologist, he has been a member of the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society for 18 years, and served as Chapter president in 1999 and 2000. 

In late 2000, he organized and initiated a survey program with Chapter members to find unknown archaeological sites in the greater Verde Valley, for which he received the 2007 Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Commission’s award for Avocational Archaeologist. 

Ehrhardt is also researching historical records and maps for possible Indian trade routes.  He has had one paper published on trails in Prehistoric Cultures of the Perry Mesa Region   and another currently in review on “Prehistoric Agriculture Sites in the Verde Valley”. 

For over 40 years, since 1973, the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society (VVCAAS) has been actively involved in the archaeology of the Verde Valley and the greater Southwest. 

The society is a volunteer organization with a long history of supporting professional archaeology, working hand-in-hand with the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Museum of Northern Arizona Research Center, and Northern Arizona University. Whether you are a novice or professional, the Verde Valley…

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