Rimrock, Arizona – September 2022 – V Bar V Petroglyphs

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.

Central Arizona – September 2021 – Historic Native Dwellings

The long weekend provided a great opportunity to explore the many historic dwellings that are scattered around Central Ariona.

We started at Montezuma’s Castle. The Europeans who first visited the remnants in the mid 1800s were mistakenly convinced that Montezuma had lived there, hence the name. This however is inaccurate – it is believed that Hopi, Yavapi and Hohokam lived here.

Nearby is Montezuma’s Well. Much like the Castle, it was the home to numerous local cultures. This natural limestone sinkhole produces 1.5 million gallons of water a day from an underground spring.

Tuzigoot Is a 3 story pueblo ruin at the summit of a ridge near Clarkdale, Arizona. It is very large, with 110 rooms, as a home for Sinagua people.

The final stop of the weekend was at Tonto National Monument. Home to Salado culture more than 800 years ago, it sets high up on a hill above what is now Roosevelt Lake.