Volunteers in Archaeology: The Southwest Archaeology Team (SWAT)
The Southwest Archaeology Team (SWAT) is an organization of avocational
and professional archaeologists dedicated to preserving archaeological and
historic sites in Arizona. The main goals of the group include preservation,
education and public involvement in archaeology. The group holds quarterly
meetings at AzMNH with guest lecturers, but the major focus of the group is
fieldwork and laboratory analysis, with members working in, and contributing
to, the field of archaeology. The primary interaction between members occurs
in the field on excavation and historic preservation projects.
SWAT has conducted archaeological excavations primarily at sites on
private land just prior to construction projects that would destroy the site
and the information it contains. Sites on private land often do not have the
protection or funding available to projects falling under federal or state
antiquity laws. The SWAT team has carried out excavations on many sites to
recover archaeological data before the site was destroyed by construction.
The Arizona Museum of Natural History curates the artifacts, notes and
reports from the field research.
Membership in SWAT requires only an interest in the science of
archaeology. New members work with experienced members who provide training
in archaeological techniques. More formal courses in field techniques are
periodically available through Mesa Community College but they are not
required. Members also work in the archaeological laboratory at AzMNH where
SWAT members are available to provide training in ceramic (prehistoric
pottery) and lithic (stone tool) analysis.
Ernie Rawlston using home-made and commercial surveying equipment to map
the excavations at Mesa Grande.
Ben Mixon working on excavations at Mesa Grande.
Jim Britton restoring a wall at Mesa Grande.