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Archaeology's Interactive Dig
July-October 2004Interactive Dig Elden Pueblo
The staff of the Elden Pueblo Project (left to right): Lisa Edmonson, Max Hicks, Tom Woodal, Walter Gosart, and John Sturgis
Arizona Archaeological Society, Elden Pueblo Field School, 2004

Photos courtesy Peter Pilles. Click on images for larger versions.

Meet the Staff

The Elden Pueblo Project staff are graduates of the Arizona Archaeological Society (AAS) Certification Program who have a long history of participation in the project. Besides helping with program administration, student instruction, and campground maintenance during the field school, they also help supervise excavation and lab activities during our Public Days, Flagstaff Festival of Science, and Flagstaff Public Schools programs. During the winter and spring, they work with other members of the AAS from the Flagstaff, Sedona, and Prescott areas to analyze sherds and catalogue artifacts from the summer excavations.

Lisa Edmonson is the Elden Pueblo Program Manager. She is in charge of publicity, recruiting, scheduling school and public programs, responding to requests for information, and applying for grants. A retired jewelry artist from California, Lisa has worked at Elden since 2002.

Greg Edmonson, Lisa's husband, is an instructor in the Flagstaff school programs and others such as the Museum of Northern Arizona's summer Ventures program. A specialist in prehistoric technology and in preparing traditional tribal foods, Greg is a retired fire fighter from California.

Walter Gosart was a semi-retired construction worker from Maryland passing through Flagstaff on vacation when he first stumbled into an Elden Pueblo Public Day in 1992. He quickly became hooked on archaeology and moved to Flagstaff the following year. After training at Elden, he became an archaeological technician with the National Park Service at Walnut Canyon and Wupatki National Monuments. Walter assists with lectures and field training at the AAS field school and helps supervise stabilization work at the site.

Max Hicks is the youngest and latest addition to the Elden Pueblo Staff. Max is a 17-year-old student at the Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy. He recently moved to Flagstaff from Florida and has always been interested in archaeology. Max helps with excavations, ceramic analysis, data entry, and keeping the lab organized. Because of the training he received at Elden Pueblo, he now has a full-time summer job entering Coconino National Forest archaeological survey data into our new computer site record system.

John Sturgis is our senior staff person, having worked at Elden Pueblo in a variety of capacities since 1990. As treasurer of the AAS Certification Committee, John is in charge of student registrations and of advertising the Elden Pueblo field school on various websites such as the Archaeological Institute of America. A native of Maine, John was a manager at AT&T before his retirement. He was presented the 2002 Arizona Archaeology Advisory Commission's Award in Public Archaeology for his many efforts at promoting avocational archaeology.

Tom Woodall is a watch repairman from Mississippi who had always wanted to excavate an archaeological site. His wish came true in 1988 when, with typical beginner's luck, he found a pottery bird effigy jar at the bottom of his test square. Tom is an instructor in our public programs and also helps supervise the stabilization work at Elden Pueblo.

The Arizona Archaeological Society (AAS) Certification Program

Since 1980, the Coconino National Forest has been hosting the Arizona Archaeological Society's field school at Elden Pueblo. The purpose of the field school is to provide the classroom and field training needed for AAS members to become certified in a variety of technical archaeological skills. The Certification Program was started in the 1970s as a partnership between the avocational and professional archaeological communities in Arizona. Through the Certification Committee, formal training modules have been developed that cover such skills as crew member I, crew member II, ceramic identification, laboratory technician I, laboratory technician II, historical archaeology, archaeological survey, rock art recording, stabilization, surveying, and report preparation. Each module involves about 40 hours of formal lecture and 40 hours of hands-on experience by instructors who have been approved by the Certification Committee.

Once certified, AAS members are available to assist professional archaeologists in need of volunteer help, as well as participate in other sanctioned AAS projects. Because of the consistency of training provided by the formal module-based certification program, professional archaeologists know and can depend upon the skill levels offered to them by AAS volunteers.

In recent years, students from universities and community colleges from both the United States and abroad, entrance-level contract archaeologists, and graduates of certification programs from other states have also participated in the Elden Pueblo field school to broaden their archaeological field experience. For this season, 42 people registered for the field school. Although most were students in the Certification Program, long-term volunteer staff members, and "Elden Alumni," returning graduates from Elden field schools also participated.

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InteractiveDig is produced by ARCHAEOLOGY Magazine
© 2004 Archaeological Institute of America

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