Public Preservation Programs

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) sponsors and supports a number of historic preservation programs for the public. The programs described in this section include information sharing, volunteer activities, and award programs. For more information about public preservation programs, please contact the State Historic Preservation Office at (602) 542-4009.

Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month

Archaeology MonthArchaeology Month

Initiated in 1983 by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Governor's Ad Hoc Archaeology Advisory Group (now the Arizona Archaeology Advisory Commission), Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month (AAHAM) is a program of events and activities that takes place in March of each year. Activities are offered throughout the month to inform the public about archaeology in our state. This statewide celebration has grown into a major public education effort involving over 60 different federal, state, municipal, tribal and private organizations. Proclaimed by the Governor each year, this celebration annually features over 100 events including prehistoric site tours, exhibits, open houses, lectures, demonstrations and other activities throughout Arizona. This month of public education programming was the first of its kind in the United States and has now been replicated by many other states.

Starting in 1989, an annual Archaeology Expo was added to the Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month events. The Archaeology Expo is a pivotal event in the month-long celebration of AAAM and provides an opportunity for organizations involved in archaeology to provide exhibits, demonstrations of prehistoric crafts and archaeological techniques, and hands-on activities for both children and adults. Other activities at the Expo include: guided site tours, Native American arts and crafts, demonstrations, and living history re-enactments. These activities give visitors new insights into Arizona's many prehistoric and historic cultures. This successful public education event reaches out to thousands of people each year in an effort to instill a stewardship ethic toward our state's archaeological and historical resources.

Arizona Site Stewards Volunteer Program

Site Stewards are are volunteers dedicated to protecting and preserving cultural resources and the heritage of Arizona. The Arizona Site Stewards Program is an organization of volunteers, sponsored by the public land managers of Arizona, whose members are selected, trained and certified by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission. The chief objective of the Stewards Program is to report to the land managers destruction or vandalism of prehistoric and historic archaeological and paleontological sites in Arizona through site monitoring. Stewards are also active in public education and outreach activities. Learn more

Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission: GAAC

Arizona is a national leader in the development of Public Archaeology and Heritage Tourism programs. The Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission: GAAC has played an important role in the development of Arizona's multi-component, award-winning educational programs in archaeology. The legislation creating the Commission was signed into effect by Governor Bruce Babbitt on March 26, 1985. The statutory Commission is composed of 11 members with expertise in prehistoric or historic archaeology, anthropology and/or ethnography, as well as tourism, public education, economic development, business, and Native American affairs. The purpose of the Commission is to advise the State Historic Preservation Officer on a variety of archaeological issues important to Arizona. Learn more

GAAC's Awards in Public Archaeology

As part of Arizona Archaeology Awareness Month each year, the Commission recognizes individuals and/or programs that have contributed time and energy to promoting the protection and preservation of, and education about, Arizona's non-renewable archaeological resources. Four awards are presented each year in the categories of professional archaeologist, avocational archaeologist, Site Steward, and Program/Other category. The award ceremony is held at the Archaeology Expo each year.

Arizona Heritage Preservation Honor Awards

The State Historic Preservation Office in cooperation with the Arizona Preservation Foundation sponsors the Heritage Preservation Honor Awards, an annual celebration of Arizona's cultural heritage. Ten awards are given to individuals, organizations, and/or projects in recognition of outstanding achievements in preserving Arizona's prehistoric and historic resources. A Grand Award Winner is chosen from among those ten award recipients. Awards are presented at the annual Arizona Heritage Preservation Awards reception in the spring.

Archaeological Site Etiquette Guide

Visiting an Archaeological Site? Read the Archaeological Site Etiquette Guide.

Information and Technical Assistance

The State Historic Preservation Office provides a number of publications including bulletins on National Register Properties, preservation briefs on treatments of historic properties, brochures on program areas and heritage tourism information. The staff also provide technical assistance on an individual basis and through workshops to property owners, consultants, municipal governments, and state and federal agencies.

The National Park Service (NPS) maintains the Strategies for Protecting Archeological Sites on Private Lands website. Please visit  This document continues to be a popular guide to the wide variety of tools available for protecting archeological sites on private lands. The site contains information on strategies currently being used throughout the U.S., case studies, keys to success, contact information, and links to other sources of useful information. Key strategies include — Land Ownership, Financial Strategies, Development Regulation, Laws Specific to Archeology, Voluntary Strategies, and Site Management.

Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Public Education and Outreach: Check out the Special Forum issue of the SAA's "Archaeological Record" that focuses on careers in archaeology and find out what archaeologists do in the 21st century. What kinds of jobs and careers are available for archaeologists? This special issue of the "Archaeological Record" provides 12 personal accounts of careers in archaeology that show that archaeology is about MUCH more than digging. This issue can be accessed for free through this link:

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