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ncient pottery in Cave Creek Museum’s Archaeological Wing

October 1 @ 8:00 am - December 31 @ 5:00 pm MST

Ancient pottery in Cave Creek Museum’s Archaeological Wing slated to debut during fall season opener. The history of beautiful and functional pottery making in Arizona encompasses many cultures. Cave Creek Museum is has one of the most diverse and rare collections of ancient pottery found in the state, and all of it is contained in the museum’s Archaeological Wing, which will open October 1.

Cave Creek Museum executive director Evelyn Johnson says the museum’s extensive pottery collection (online and owned by the museum) is world-class in terms of its variety and rarity. As people explore the many exceptional examples of pottery people made and used to thrive and survive. Visitors and residents also will discover projectile points, stone tools and other artifacts from excavations during the 1980s at Spur Cross Ranch.

“One wall in the Archaeology wing is dedicated to a collaboration between Cave Creek Museum and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community’s Huhugam Ki Museum,” says Johnson.

The unique wall tells their stories and contains remarkable items from their cultures.

“Archaeology is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes (the archaeological record),” adds Johnson.

Johnson says 99% of the collection was donated to the museum. The west wall tells the story of the two tribes who were in the Cave Creek area when it was first settled: the Yavapai and the Tonto Apache, who are part of the Western Apache. Museum maps show their historic ranges and their current reservations. These tribes do not appear to be related to the prehistoric cultures on the east wall. That’s just one of the puzzles that make archaeology in Arizona so fascinating.

Upon the museum’s opening on October 1, 2024, visitors will be amazed at the newly constructed pottery and fragile, expertly woven baskets used for carrying and storing items for everyday use. People will learn the cultural importance of these objects in ceremonial uses by ancient people. The pottery display demonstrates the pottery making process from gathering raw clay through adding temper, forming shapes, decorating and finally firing. The finished product styles range from plain ware to decorated pottery, just as one might look at today’s dishes as everyday or special china.

In addition, Cave Creek Museum’s archaeological section features a Hohokam house (a life size replica) that is built from materials native to high desert landscapes. Johnson says the museum model represents home materials found at the Sears Kay Ruins east of the town of Cave Creek.

Cave Creek Museum seeks volunteers to work with exhibits and to join in on activities that are planned throughout the summer and the upcoming season.

“Even though the museum closes briefly during summer, we will be very busy preparing for the new season,” says Johnson. “For volunteers, it is fun and interesting work and a great opportunity to learn about the museum’s famed history. Our volunteers love spending time here.”

Call 480.488.2764 for more information.


October 1 @ 8:00 am MST
December 31 @ 5:00 pm MST
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Cave Creek Museum
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Cave Creek Museum
6140 E. Skyline Drive
Cave Creek, AZ United States
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