What We Do: Help Us Engage People in the Past

Hands-On Archaeology

Hands-On Archaeology logoArchaeology Southwest’s new Hands-On Archaeology program connects people of today with daily life in the distant past. Hands-on Archaeology is one of several outreach programs we have developed to raise awareness of the meaning, inclusive value, and fragility of the places and traces of the past.


As Hands-On program participants actively engage with ancient tools and techniques, they gain new insight into skills that enabled people to survive and thrive in the challenging landscapes of the Southwest. Those insights draw participants into deeper understanding of the significance of archaeological sites and artifacts, which represent tens of thousands of human lives lived in this region. As a result, the Hands-On program builds public advocacy for the conservation and protection of the material remains of the past.

Making a Pendant

A Hands-On Archaeology participant pierces a hole in a pendant using Hohokam technology.


A big-picture question about people’s lives in the distant past will drive each Hands-On experience.

  • How did people make and use stone tools?
  • What tools did ancient hunters use?
  • How did people build their homes?
  • How did people hunt animals?

Some topics will be the focus of a class or workshop, and others will be the focus of a presentation. Click here to learn more about current class offerings and to register for classes.

Allen Constructing a Pithouse

Allen Denoyer creating the structure of a Hohokam pithouse.


Preservation Archaeologist Allen Denoyer serves as ancient technologies expert, lecturer, and instructor for Hands-On Archaeology programming. Allen has more than twenty years of archaeological experience throughout the Southwest and in the Rocky Mountains region. In the Tucson Basin, Allen excavated sites that helped define the Early Agricultural period in southern Arizona. In Wyoming and Colorado, Allen worked at Paleoindian sites, precontact sites, and historic campsites. A skilled replicator of ancient artifacts, Allen has taught ancient technology workshops for two decades. His replicas are used in classrooms, colleges, and universities, and his work has appeared on the television show Mythbusters.

Praise for Allen’s presentations:

“Your flint knapping demonstration and lively discussion were a true highlight for everyone involved. Several people approached me later in the week to emphasize how much they enjoyed your presentation. As far as I’m concerned, there really isn’t a better way to learn about lithics than to watch an expert like you (and then to go knock some rocks yourself)… We are optimistic last week’s efforts will go a long way to raising awareness about cultural resources on the Forest, and you played an important role.” — Dave Mehalic, Forest Archaeologist, Coronado National Forest

Allen Demonstrates Flintknapping

Allen Denoyer also demonstrated Hohokam stone tool-making techniques at the 2013 Oro Valley Fall Festival.

Questions? Contact us!

Or, sign up for This Month at Archaeology Southwest, our free e-newsletter, to stay informed about Hands-On Archaeology and other programs.



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