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Tonto National Forest archaeologist Scott Wood has spent 35 years working to protect and interpret the remains of ancient civilizations in the Southwest. His efforts recently won recognition from the Arizona Archaeological Society.

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Explaining the ancient dead to the living

Archaeologist Scott Wood wins award after 35 years spent protecting Rim Country ruins

Scott Wood has spent the last 35 years trying to explain the long dead to the still living — and in the process shedding light on one of history’s great missing persons cases. Now, the Tonto National Forest archaeologist’s long quest to protect and understand a complex, mysteriously vanished ancient civilization has earned him the Arizona Archaeological Society’s “Professional Archaeologist of the Year” award. But the laconic, bearded archaeologist in his trademark Indiana Jones hat said that in his job he’s “mostly putting out fires,” trying to save sites endangered by mines, off-road vehicles, highways and other development.

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