Some archaeologists with the Arizona State Museum and the University of Arizona divide their time between the deserts of Tucson and those near the northern Arizona city of Winslow.
The purpose is to study ancient dwellings, and the people who lived in them.
Although it takes time, patience and a willingness to get dirty, the dwellings can tell archaeologists many stories about some of the earliest residents of the Southwest, ancestors to the modern Hopi and Zuni tribes, and possibly other communities.
E. Charles Adams, a professor of anthropology and curator of archaeology for the Arizona State Museum, is one of several researchers conducting fieldwork in the lower Chevelon petroglyph site, where one can see carvings that are between 700 and 8,000 years old.
"We are finding a lot of information about the very early people who settled the area thousands and thousands of years ago, people who didn't even have corn yet." Adams said. The team is interested in learning what happened once these ancient people had corn, approximately 3,000 to 3,500 years ago.
Adams said there are three other parts to the research, including looking at the pueblos in which these ancient people lived.
"We are studying their pottery. We are studying how they build their rooms, how they build their kivas. And all of these things suggest these people ended up at the Homolovi site," he explained.
Archaeological work on the Homolovi ruins continued through 2008. Adams said the pueblos and wall paintings, dating back to the 1300s, are part of Hopi oral history. Hopi have passed along stories about the ancestors who lived in the seven Homolovi sites, stories that archeologists were able to confirm based upon the artifacts the found there.