Lecture To Discuss Ancient 'Ground Paintings'


The Southwest boasts a large number of well-preserved archaeological sites, several of them in the Rim Country.

Over the years, the Rim Country chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society has studied and cared for those local sites. Through its museum on Main Street, the Society shares with the public the wealth of information it has gathered.


More than 100 petroglyph and ruin sites are scattered in and around Tonto Basin and the Payson area.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of old ruins around here and some fairly complex cities near the Four Corners area," said RCAAS member Bob Breen.

The museum has permanent exhibits and is open from noon until 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Though the museum is open year-round, March is important. It is Arizona Archaeology Awareness Month. In celebration, the museum is hosting a presentation that is open to the public.

"Intaglios, Geoglyphs and Rock Alignments of the Lower Colorado River" by Harry SwansonWhen: 1 p.m. SaturdayWhere: Rim Country Museum of Archaeology, 510 W. Main St.Cost: FreeCall: (928) 468-1128

"Intaglios, Geoglyphs and Rock Alignments of the Lower Colorado River" will be presented at 1 p.m. Saturday by Harry Swanson, professor of anthropology and Gila Community College dean.

Geoglyphs are giant ground "paintings" that can only be seen from above. Over 600 of these geometric, human and animal shapes have been found along the Colorado River, from Nevada to the Gulf of California.

Ancient peoples produced the ground designs by arranging or removing stones, stone fragments, gravel or earth.

Extra museum staff will be on hand Saturday to answer questions about pottery, tools and other interpretive exhibits.

"We have two outstanding murals," Breen said.

The first, just inside the entrance, depicts the people who lived in this area 1,000 years ago, working on their homes.

Further inside, a mural represents a petroglyph discovered in a cave near Flowing Springs.

The petroglyph is a ring of 13 turtles. It may have meant, "This is my territory, do not enter," Breen said. Breen estimated the petroglyph is at least 700, if not 800 to 1,000 years old.

There is no need to RSVP to the free event. The Museum of Rim Country Archaeology is located at 510 W. Main St.

Call (928) 468-1128.

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