Archaeology Expo Comes To Rim Country


The Arizona Archaeology Expo 2003 comes to Payson this weekend -- complete with booths, presentations and a cowboy-culture barbecue as a grand finale.

The expo part of the event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with the barbecue scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday evening.


Local archaeologist Penny Minturn displays some of the treasures uncovered at Risser Ranch Ruins, one of the sites once occupied by the prehistoric people distinguished by a protrusion on the backs of their skulls. Those attending the Arizona Archaeology Expo will get a first hand look at the culture and lifestyle of the Rim country's earliest inhabitants.

Presentations on different aspects of archaeology will be held throughout the two-day event in the amphitheater at Green Valley Park. Presenters include Deer Valley Rock Art Center, Archaeology Research Institute, Arizona Historical Society/Tucson, Tonto Apache Tribe, Desert Archaeology, Arizona State Parks/Homolovi, Pueblo Grande Museum, Arizona Department of Game and Fish, and many others.

Pottery, dance, bead and gourd demonstrations also will be held throughout the event.

Stessing the educational nature of the event, Gila County Historical Society Director Sharesse von Strauss said that special booths will be set up on Friday for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders whose classes will attend.

The closing barbecue will feature the culinary wizardry of Albert Hunt and will be served from the ramada between the accessions building and the ranger station at the Rim Country Museum. The menu includes barbecue beef sandwiches, cowboy beans, cole slaw, soft drink and cookies, with two 10-by-20-foot tents serving as the dining rooms.

Eddie Armer and his band will perform from the balcony of the museum during the barbecue, and a silent auction will be held in front of the museum featuring original works of art by Rock Newcomb, Jim Garrity, Jay Kemp, Donn Morris, Anne Branagan, Don Holcomb, Dick Wolfe, Alan and Carole Snyder and others.

The museum's latest exhibit -- "Women of the Rim -- the Spirit of Tenacity" -- will serve as the backdrop for a no-host bar in the upstairs exhibit hall during the barbecue.

The exhibit features sidesaddles and a collection of the few feminine luxury xitems pioneer women managed to bring west with them. Included is a curling iron, a crimping iron, hat pins, a stereoscope for entertainment, and even a perfume bottle.

The exhibit also features the photographs and stories of nine exceptional women through four periods in Payson's history. They include Edith Peace, Beryl Goodfellow, Ola Young, Cece Gibson and Ola Franklin Wilbanks Lazear.

"It would be so much fun to see people come out and enjoy the expo," von Strauss said. "This is the first time and only time it has ever been in Payson during its 17-year history. This is a real opportunity to understand all the aspects of archaeology in a fun and educational way. Archaeologists from all over the state will be here to answer questions and make presentations."

Except for the closing dinner, the event is free. Tickets for the dinner are $10 for adults and $5 for children and may be purchased at the Rim Country Museum, the Museum of Rim Country Archaeology, the Payson Town Hall and the Gila County offices complex at Main Street and Highway 87.

Only 300 tickets will be sold for the dinner.

The Tonto Apache Tribe will provide shuttle service between off-site parking at the Payson Event Center and Green Valley Park.

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