Elden Pueblo is the site of an ancient Sinagua (Sin ah’ wa) village, inhabited from about A.D. 1070 to 1275. The site is unique for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, it makes archaeology and the study of ancient peoples accessible to the public. Since 1978, professional archaeologists have supervised members of the public in excavations, archaeological research techniques and artifact analysis through a variety of public and school programs.
Conveniently located on U.S. Highway 89 north, Elden Pueblo is thought to have been part of a major trading system. This is evidenced by discoveries of trade items, such as macaw skeletons from as far south as Mexico, to shell jewelry from the California Coast. Important discoveries recently uncovered at Elden Pueblo suggest that the Sunset Crater volcano may have erupted over a much longer period of time than previously thought.
The Arizona Natural History Association sponsors the Elden Pueblo Archaeology Project with the Coconino National Forest to provide opportunities for people to learn about and become involved in the science of archaeology. Annual programs include several Public Archaeology Days, in which the public can participate in site tours, actual excavation, artifact washing and analysis, and try their hand at using ancient hunting weapons. The August Public Day features a Primitive Technology Expo and the last Public Day of the year takes place in the fall as part of the annual Flagstaff Festival of Science.
Elden Pueblo is available for school programs and groups of up to thirty people. Educational programs are correlated to the Arizona State Standards, grades 4-7 in Social Science and Science. Custom programs are available, from 1-2 hours tours, to day-long excavations, or multiple-day programs. Elden Pueblo hosts the Arizona Archaeology Society’s summer field school, where avocational archaeologists receive training in various archaeological skills, such as excavation, stabilization, mapping, and laboratory techniques. There are also summer archaeology camps for students, from third grade and up.
Learn more about Elden Pueblo, including a history of the Sinagua, programs, a glossary, frequently asked questions, and a list of references.
At a Glance
||Flagstaff Ranger District - 928-526-0866
A 250 yd (0.2 milie) long accessible dirt path leads from the parking lot to and around the ruins.
Location: Elden Pueblo is located one mile north of the Flagstaff Mall on the west side of U.S. Highway 89 North, just south of its junction with Townsend-Winona Road. A sign for “Elden Pueblo Ruins” leads into the parking lot.
GPS (Map): 35°14'38.4"N 111°33'59.4"W
Click on map thumbnail for a larger view.
Season: The site is open year-round for visitation. Brochures for self-guided tours are available on-site. Public programs, school programs, field schools and camps are conducted from Mid-April through October by appointment. Contact the Elden Pueblo Program Manager at (928) 699-5421 to schedule a program.
Facilities: Parking lot. Chemical toilets during the summer field season. An undeveloped camping area with potable water is available for special program participants during the summer.
Please Note: It is unlawful to dig or collect artifacts you find laying on the ground at Elden Pueblo. You are welcome to touch and look at them, but put them back exactly where you found them. To protect the site, stay on the trail, and do not sit or climb on the walls of the pueblo. Before visiting the site, please read the Archaeological Site Etiquette Guide to help you better enjoy your visit without causing inadvertent damage to the site.
Archaeology for Kids