The Verde Valley has a number of ancient Native America sites including the incorrectly named Montezuma’s Castle and Well. Not far from these is a collection of over 1000 petroglyphs at a site known as V Bar V Heritage Site.
The area was home to the Sinagua (yet another European assignment of a name – in this case it is Spanish for Without Water). While many of the meanings to some of the symbols have been lost to time, today’s Hopi can interpret most, including sun dials to track the seasons, various activities, animals and events.
The Sinagua were both hunter gatherers as well as sustaining an agricultural environment, hence the symbols.
The lichen has taken over many of the petroglyphs, forever changing them. Attempts were made in the past to clean the lichen off but it destroyed the petroglyphs underneath.
This image from 100 years ago shows how much cleared the petroglyphs were.
V Bar V Heritage Site is a great place to see a large collection of petroglyphs, and the staff and volunteers at the site do a great job explaining the meanings of them.