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The School of Human Evolution and Social Change, our Center for Archaeology and Society and individual faculty members maintain extensive research and teaching collections in archaeology, ethnology and evolutionary anthropology.

shelves of pottery

We have a responsibility to preserve materials in conformance with applicable governmental policies and procedures, and current professional standards of curation, data collection, data management and access. The data and artifacts are curated in perpetuity, and are accessible for research, publication, exhibition, education and other related purposes. The collections include ASU’s prehistoric Southwest ceramic sherd type and whole pot collection, available to students and researchers by appointment.

We also maintain several collections of artifacts that have been formally “accessioned” or accepted under written repository agreements, along with data, documents and other supporting materials. The school curates more than 70,000 specimens from central Arizona, including materials from excavations conducted for the Bureau of Reclamation within the boundaries of Tonto National Forest connected to the Central Arizona Project and related modification projects to the Roosevelt, Bartlett and Horseshoe Dams.

Ethnographic collections

Including examples from:

  • the American Southwest
  • Latin American Folk Art
  • Southeast Asia-Laos Collections donated by:
    • Jane Hanks
    • William Sage
    • Joel Halpern

Archaeological and evolutionary anthropology collections

These include:

  • More than 250,000 individual and bulk archaeological specimens, primarily from Arizona
  • Type and comparative collections in a variety of materials:
    • ceramics
    • fauna
    • pollen
    • seeds
    • non-human primates and fossil hominid casts
  • Whole Pottery Vessel Collection
  • ASU Dental Anthropology Collection, featuring casts from many parts of the world
  • Osteological remains from the early Christian Era Nubian site of Semna South on the upper Nile River, Sudan
  • Ragsdale Pathology Collection (documented skeletal pathology cases)

Southwest collections

With support from the Center for Archaeology and Society, out Southwest U.S. collections include:

  • Roosevelt Platform Mound Study (conducted by Arizona State University)
  • Roosevelt Community Development Study (conducted by Desert Archaeology)
  • Roosevelt Rural Sites Study (conducted by Statistical Research)
  • Lower Verde Archaeological Project (conducted by Statistical Research)

Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve

This petroglyph site is considered a natural collection. In addition, artifacts are housed and displayed in the site's museum. Holdings include the following:

  • 1,571 petroglyphs on 579 boulders
  • a ground stone quarry
  • a chipped stone quarry
  • cobble hammerstones
  • shell and bone artifacts
  • a single pithouse with 2 trash deposits and 10 cooking pits
  • an agricultural site
  • a possible canal segment
  • an earthen check dam
  • several small, stone masonry rooms

The site is also a 47-acre nature preserve that is home to approximately 250 native Sonoran Desert plant species and upwards of 100 permanent and migratory faunal species.

Visitors examining pottery sherds

Contact

Visitors seeking access to or information on the collections should contact Melissa Powell, curator of collections.

Mailing Address:
School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Arizona State University
PO Box 872402
Tempe, AZ 85287-2402

Collections Staff:
734 West Alameda Drive
Suite 120
Tempe, AZ 85282