Aaron joined Archaeology Southwest’s staff as a Preservation Archaeologist in 2015. From 2006 to 2010, while in graduate school at Washington State University, Aaron was a Preservation Fellow and collaborator (with the City of Phoenix and Arizona State University) on the South Mountain Rock Art Project. Aaron used this project as the basis for his doctoral dissertation, eventually earning a Ph.D. in Anthropology in 2011. Aaron revised his dissertation into a book, Religion on the Rocks: Hohokam Rock Art, Ritual Practice, and Social Transformation, which won the 2012 Don D. and Catherine S. Fowler Prize.
A childhood spent amidst the numerous Hopewell Earthworks in southeastern Ohio fueled Aaron’s interest in archaeology, and specifically cultural landscapes. He went on to earn a B.A. degree from the Ohio State University in 1999, with a major in Anthropology and minors in Spanish and Folklore. Afterwards, Aaron worked on numerous cultural resource management projects in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Washington, and Oklahoma, which inspired him to seek advanced degrees in Anthropology. He enrolled at Washington State University, where he had the privilege to participate in Bill Lipe’s last graduate seminar in Archaeological Method and Theory. For his 2006 Master’s degree, and working with the Village Ecodynamics Project, Aaron used a pollen profile from a subalpine fen to develop a climatic reconstruction for the Mesa Verde region of southwestern Colorado. This research was later published in Leaving Mesa Verde: Peril and Change in the Thirteenth-Century Southwest, a book Aaron co-edited with Tim Kohler and Mark Varien.
Aaron’s research is currently focused on the Hohokam and Patayan traditions across southwestern Arizona. He is specifically interested in the cultural landscape of the lower Gila River, which is renowned for a unique mixture of Patayan and Hohokam settlements, dense galleries of world-class rock art, and numerous enigmatic geoglyphs. Aaron is the lead researcher on Archaeology Southwest’s long-term goal of establishing a Great Bend of the Gila National Monument. In that effort, Aaron has collaborated on a cultural resource study of the area’s significance, as well as a cultural affiliation study outlining the ethnohistory and contemporary tribal connections to this remarkable landscape.