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Lost Worlds of the Upper Verde

May 11 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Join archaeologist Michael Kellett and NHI’s Bob Ellis and Jennie Tutone on a day-long adventure to explore a prehistoric site that overlooks the Upper Verde River. During this excursion, we will investigate a hilltop site in the Upper Verde River Wildlife Area, journeying through a lush ribbon of riparian habitat and climbing up the basalt cliffs to view this ancient architecture. This area boasts a rich and diverse wildlife community and has significant cultural value. We will discover the unique structure and layout of this ancient site, and learn about the latest research that sheds light on its possible functions. Get ready to travel through time and uncover the secrets of this incredible archaeological site!




We will meet at 8am in Chino Valley to carpool to the Upper Verde River Wildlife Area. Once arriving, we will descend down to the river to learn about the natural history of the area and the significance of protecting the area. Our journey to the hilltop site includes traversing through the river corridor, crossing the stream, and an off-trail hike up the steep hill to the site. Then, we will have ample time to explore and learn about the archaeological site. Our excursion will conclude by traversing the way we came and returning to Chino Valley at 5pm.



Cost: $75

Time: Meet in Chino Valley, AZ, at the Safeway at 8:00am and return at 5:00pm

Difficulty: This full-day adventure involves a 5-mile hike off-trail, a stream crossing, avoiding sun exposure and thorny bushes, and a steep climb and descent on unstable surfaces.

Food and Water: Bring your own lunch, water, and snacks for a full-day excursion.



Michael Kellett has a total of 25 years of experience working with the BLM and Forest Service, including three years supervising the heritage program on the Prescott National Forest. After retiring from federal land management, he completed his MA in Anthropology (research) at NAU and has over three years of experience as a professional archaeologist. His archaeological experience has included inventory and recording of cultural and historic resources in Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, New Mexico, and Oregon. His experience also includes pedestrian survey, excavation, and construction monitoring. In addition to these experiences, Kellett holds a red card as a fire archaeologist, fire-line resource advisor, and burned area emergency response specialist. He has served in these capacities on dozens of wildland fire incidents throughout the Western US for 24 years.

Register Here


May 11
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Natural History Institute