by Fred Veil, Executive Director, Sharlot Hall Museum
Step back in time to discover the Prescott Culture, a way of life predating the Anglo-European influence on native cultures of West-Central Arizona, now showing at the museum.
From the Hohokam influence to the mystery of the hilltop sites, and from a reproduction pit-house to the presentation of coalescence of cultures, the new exhibit at Sharlot Hall Museum will surprise and amaze you.
Dating from 300 AD to 1300 AD in the Central Highlands of Arizona, the artifacts describe an ancient culture with an elaborate and intricate exchange.
The influence of the Hohokam to the traditions of the “ancient ones” of the Yavapai are identified in this permanent addition to the museum. It will captivate you with its presentation, interactive atmosphere and immersive technology.
The multifaceted exhibit draws you through the mercantile bartering system of pottery and artifacts and into the pit-house, featuring the classic urn of the native culture.
Along the way, interactive exhibit drawers showcase intricacies of desert life in the Central Highlands at the time. At one end, share a beguiling moment with a native trader with baubles and hand-hewn regalia ready for barter.
Enter into the nearby rotunda with its panoramic setting to discover the legend and lore of the hilltop sites. Exhibit panels and a multimedia presentation shed light on the people who inhabited the area from 1100 AD to 1250 AD and suddenly disappeared.
The scattered remnants of their existence are the sites themselves — the stone walls and structural remains of forts or defensive retreats or houses for habitation or labyrinthine lookouts or observation posts. Only they know the purpose for these masonry marvels, which are walls of stone, hand-set and laboriously placed along the many hilltops, buttes and ridges throughout the Central Highlands, only to be abandoned.
Their legacy remains the evidence and innate curiosity of these sites. A short video produced by the museum explains their impact and the possible uses for these varied sites.
The exhibit completes the prehistory wing of the Lawler Exhibit Center at Sharlot Hall Museum. The artifacts, pottery sherds, handmade beads and utility tools are available for inspection with admission.
Admission to the museum is $9 for adults and free for Museum members and children 13 and younger. The museum is located at 415 W. Gurley St., two blocks west of the downtown Courthouse Plaza.