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Tuzigoot National Monument

Ancient Peoples of Arizona

The archaeology of the Sinagua

October 5–11, 2014

Arizona images


$2,995 (member*)
$3,120 (nonmember)

Deposit: $400
Balance due: July 30, 2014

*Minimum $100 level
(see Membership)

Imagine, explore, and reconnect with the land as archaeologist Christian Downum and Hopi tribal member Lyle Balenquah lead us on in-depth tours of spectacular Sinagua sites in Arizona's Verde Valley and of the Hopi mesas. We will also look closely at Sinagua artifacts in world-class museum collections. Exceptional guest scholars, including archaeologists and museum specialists, will join us as we learn what styles of architecture, artifacts, and rock art can tell us about the people who created them. Expect lively conversation about cultural identity and cross-cultural interaction through the centuries.

Educational Focus

Archaeology and traditional knowledge: complementary ways of learning about the past

The Sinagua culture of central Arizona (A.D. 600–1400)

Historical and cultural links between the Sinagua and the Hopi




Scholars Dr. Chris Downum (top) and Lyle Balenquah (bottom)

Dr. Christian (Chris) Downum is a professor of anthropology and former director of Anthropology Laboratories at Northern Arizona University. He has spent nearly 30 years conducting archaeological field projects in the Southwest. His research interests include prehistoric identity and conflict, and the analysis of ancient ceramics and architecture.

Hopi scholar Lyle Balenquah is a member of the Greasewood clan from Bacavi on Third Mesa. He holds degrees in cultural anthropology and Southwestern archaeology from Northern Arizona University. As an archaeologist, he has documented ancestral Hopi settlements and lifeways. Currently he works as an independent consultant and river guide, providing public education that draws on his professional training and personal insights.


Sunday, October 5: Arrive in Flagstaff by 4 p.m. for introductions, dinner, and an overview of the week's activities. Overnight, Flagstaff. (D)

Monday, October 6: An introduction to the peoples of the San Francisco Peaks: at the Museum of Northern Arizona, we tour world-class exhibits and enjoy a special behind-the-scenes tour of the curation facility and laboratory. We learn about Pasiwvi, the "place of deliberations," where a small group of ancestors (Hisat'sinom) established the principles of Hopi life. This area around modern Flagstaff was a cultural crossroads and trading nexus. We go on to explore Walnut Canyon and Wupatki national monuments, where Lyle worked as an archaeologist documenting and preserving the sites of his ancestors. Overnight, Flagstaff. (B, L)

Tuesday, October 7: Today we look for cultural signatures in the architecture, artifacts, and rock art of the region south of Flagstaff. We follow the Verde River to Montezuma Castle National Monument, a dramatic group of Sinagua cliff dwellings tucked into sheer limestone cliffs high above Beaver Creek. After lunch at the Verde Valley Archaeology Center and a tour of the center's exquisite interpretive exhibits, we visit Tuzigoot National Monument, one of the largest Sinagua sites. Overnight, Lake Montezuma. ⅓-mile loop trails at Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot. (B, L, D)

Wednesday, October 8: Red rock country—the monumental buttes and towering spires of the Coconino National Forest! In four-wheel-drive Jeeps, we discover a landscape alive with the spirit of the past. Today we'll visit two of the Verde Valley's largest and best-preserved cliff dwellings, Honanki (Bear House) and Palatki (Red House). The sites were home to three different cultures—Sinagua, Apache, and Yavapai—during the last 700 years. We're joined by Dr. Kelley Hays-Gilpin, director of the Hopi Iconography Project, a collaboration of the Museum of Northern Arizona and the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office. The project explores cultural continuity through various arts; as we examine rock art, Kelley shares her research and discusses how the project contributes to a sustainable future for Hopi communities. Overnight, Lake Montezuma. ½-day Jeep tour on rough back roads; ¾-mile loop hike. (B, L, D)

Thursday, October 9: Today we travel northeast to the Hopi world: three mesas high above the surrounding plains. Over the next day and a half, we'll visit ancient rock art panels and walk through ancestral villages that are still thriving today—testaments to the enduring culture and spirit of the Pueblo people. Overnight, Hopi Cultural Center. (B, L)

Friday, October 10: We continue our exploration of the Hopi world. In the afternoon, we return to Flagstaff for a farewell dinner and wrap-up program. Overnight, Flagstaff. (L, D)

Saturday, October 11: Depart from Flagstaff any time after breakfast. (B)

Itinerary subject to change

B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner


Tuition: Tuition is per person, based on shared hotel accommodations, and includes accommodations, meals listed, entry fees and permits, most gratuities, and group transportation from arrival in Flagstaff, Arizona, on Sunday, October 5, 2014, until departure from Flagstaff on Saturday, October 11, 2014. Transportation to and from Flagstaff is your responsibility.

Accommodations: Comfortable lodges (double occupancy); single accommodations available for an additional fee of $440.

What to Expect: This program begins and ends in Flagstaff, Arizona. Travel is by Crow Canyon vans. Some drives are long and include travel on remote dirt roads. Access to most sites requires walks of up to 2 miles roundtrip over uneven terrain. Our pace will be leisurely, but you must be comfortable standing and walking for several hours at a time.


The following penalty schedule applies: On or before July 30, 2014: $200 handling fee; after July 30, 2014: forfeiture of all payments. For complete cancellation and refund policy, see Terms and Conditions.



The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center's programs and admission practices are open to applicants of any race, color, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, or sexual orientation.

Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California
CST 2059347-50

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