Old Pueblo Archaeology Center’s mission is to educate children and adults to understand and appreciate archaeology and other cultures, to foster the preservation of archaeological and historical sites, and to develop a lifelong concern for the importance of nonrenewable resources and traditional cultures.
Preservation and Protection: The professional archaeological community considers this objective to be the most important message we impart to the public. Archaeological sites and ancient material are precious, nonrenewable resources. Teaching the public and especially children the importance of protecting the past helps to create a more informed public that will safeguard heritage resources for appreciation and study by future generations. All of Old Pueblo’s programs reinforce the message of preservation and protection.
Multicultural Awareness: As disciplines of the humanities, anthropology and archaeology seek to broaden the appreciation of all peoples for the diversity of cultures that exist today and that existed in antiquity. Through the appreciation of other ways of life and cultural perspectives, greater understanding and tolerance is fostered in the American community. Critical to this goal is an appreciation of diverse perspectives on the practice of archaeology and the ethical treatment of ancient materials.
Resource Management Philosophy and Practice: Archaeological sites are nonrenewable resources. This is the guiding philosophy behind archaeology in the 21st century. Old Pueblo’s more advanced programs address this perspective, and seek to teach the public about how cultural resources are protected, studied, and managed today.
Culture Historical Content for the American Southwest: Old Pueblo’s educational programs about the ancient and traditional cultures of the American Southwest seek to provide interpretations of the past that are drawn from observable archaeological evidence and that are as accurate as possible given the current state of knowledge.
Problem Solving and Theory in Modern Archaeology: As a science, archaeology draws on mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, and other sciences, to study the people of historical and prehistoric times in order to better understand modern cultures. As a holistic science that seeks to understand human cultures, archaeology forms a unique bridge between social theory and the natural sciences. Some of Old Pueblo’s programs emphasize this process of discovery and archaeology’s scientific methods and process.
Archaeological Skills and Methods: The recovery and analysis of archaeological data (a primary source for historical study) involves procedures that are important to the avocational archaeologist and the student of history. Old Pueblo’s simulated archaeological excavation site, public-assisted real-site excavation, and archaeology laboratory programs teach these skills and their ethical use in the study of ancient societies.
Educational Outreach: To help instill a lifelong concern for the importance of nonrenewable resources and traditional cultures Old Pueblo also provides heritage tours, internet education programs, presentations for children and adults, and exhibits and facilities for interpreting archaeology and history to the public. We work closely with other archaeological and historical organizations, and we publish the results of all of our research.
Old Pueblo Archaeology Center was founded in 1993 to provide opportunities for direct public participation in archaeological and historical research programs. In 1994 Old Pueblo was incorporated in Arizona as a nonprofit educational, scientific, and charitable organization.
In 1995 Old Pueblo Archaeology Center was determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Old Pueblo’s Executive Director, Allen Dart, has worked as a professional archaeologist since 1975. The staff and many Board of Directors members have strong backgrounds in anthropology and history, and the archaeology and native peoples of the Southwest.
These individuals are committed to finding ways for avocational archaeologists to participate in Old Pueblo’s research and education programs whenever this is practical.
Executive Director & Principal Investigator
Allen Dart (B.A., M.A.), Registered Professional Archaeologist (RPA), has extensive experience supervising cultural resource projects at Archaic, Hohokam, Patayan, Ancestral Puebloan, Mogollon, protohistoric O’odham (Piman), and historical archaeological sites. Since 1975 he has been employed as an archaeologist by the Arizona State Museum (University of Arizona), the Museum of New Mexico, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, nonprofit organizations, and private consulting firms developing contract and grant proposals, budgets, research designs, National Register nominations, and publications for both professional and avocational archaeologists. An active community volunteer, Mr. Dart has donated his time to the Archaeological Conservancy, Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society, Arizona Archaeological Council, Arizona Archaeological Society, Arizona State Museum, National Park Service, Southwestern Mission Research Center, State Historic Preservation Office, and United Way.
Mr. Dart volunteers his time as the Executive Director of Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, which he helped establish in 1993 to provide educational and scientific programs in archaeology and culture. He has received the Arizona Archaeological Society’s Professional Archaeologist of the Year Award, the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society’s Victor R. Stoner Award, the Arizona Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Commission Award in Public Archaeology, and other honors for his efforts to bring archaeology and history to the public.
Lead Children’s Program Instructor
Sherry Eisler (A.A.) is Old Pueblo Archaeology Center’s principal program instructor and also serves as a field crew member for the public archaeological field school and for research projects. Mrs. Eisler received her Associate’s degree in archaeology from Pima Community College in Tucson, where she earned certificates in Field Archaeology, Southwestern Cultures; Field Archaeology, Field Methods; and Computer Archaeology & Cartography. In addition to working part-time for Old Pueblo, she and her husband operate an international wholesale meteorite business that began as a hobby and developed into a successful international dealership. Sherry also works occasionally with other cultural resources consultants, and has experience as an accounts payable clerk.
Laura Compton works the bookkeeping end of Old Pueblo, taking care of our finances, payables, invoicing, payroll, and receivables. She also assists with the OPEN3 children’s educatin programs. Laura has been with Old Pueblo since 2013.
Ginger Thompson received her B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and completed her archaeological training with Pima Community College’s Archaeology Center. Ms. Thompson has several years of experience in fieldwork and laboratory work predominantly with the Hohokam culture. She began working with Old Pueblo Archaeology Center’s Education Department in 2011 as an educator for the OPEN3 program and a presenter for the OPENOUT program. Over the years Ms. Thompson has developed a passion for education that has led her to become a certified substitute teacher with both the Marana Unified School District and Catalina Foothills Unified School District. In addition to her involvement in archaeology and education Ms. Thompson is an avid animal lover who co-owns a successful pet-sitting business.