The El Paso Archaeological Society was founded in 1922, largely through the efforts of Elliott C. Prentiss and Maud D. Sullivan. Its purposes throughout the years have been the study and preservation of archeological resources and information. The society was granted nonprofit, tax-exempt status in 1964. It is open to all persons interested in archeology. It derives support from membership dues, contributions, publication sales, and fund-raising projects. Annual membership averages 200 family, individual, and institutional members.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the society's artifacts and archives were housed in the El Paso Public Library. After a short period of inactivity in the late 1930s, they were moved to the El Paso Centennial Museum. In 1976 the society contracted with the city of El Paso to become the support organization of the new Wilderness Park Museum. After completion of the museum, all properties were moved to the society's adjoining laboratory, print shop, and library.
The organization maintains an extensive library, including its own archives and many rare volumes. It also keeps a large study collection of ceramic and lithic samples from the region and a record of sites located in the western counties of Texas and southern counties of New Mexico. Site information is forwarded to the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, the Texas Historical Commission, the El Paso Centennial Museum, and the New Mexico State Museum's Laboratory of Anthropology. The library, study collections, and site records are available for research use. Many of the society's artifacts are on loan to the Wilderness Park Museum.
The society publishes The Artifact, a quarterly journal, and El Paso Archeology, a monthly newsletter, and distributes them to members. Other ongoing projects include an education series, analysis of collections, surveys, salvage, volunteer assistance on professionally directed projects, and support of antiquities laws. Members also serve as docents for the museum. The society regularly hosts the annual meetings of the Texas Archeological Society and the Archaeological Society of New Mexico, symposia of the Southwest Federation of Archaeological Societies, and the Jornada Mogollon Conference. The annual Awards of Distinction Banquet is held in the fall to recognize longtime contributors to archeological studies. The society also participates in Texas Archaeology Awareness Week every November 9–16 and provides a yearly scholarship of $500 to the study of archeology or a related field. In 1994 the El Paso Archaeological Society had a membership of 200.