January 26

January 26

Heron And A Journey Into History

We woke up to see this handsome fellow searching for breakfast in the creek. The first picture below was taken through the back window:

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Since the day was a bit cool and overcast, we decided to pay a visit to a couple of archaeological sites we had discovered during our museum trip a couple of days ago.

Our first stop was at the V Bar V Heritage Site. Operated by the Coconino National Forest, it is the largest petroglyph rock art site in the Verde Valley, as well as one of the best preserved, and has only fairly recently been discovered. The Sinagua Indians created over 1,000 images here between A.D. 900-1300. Several of the images operate as a solar calendar to determine ceremonial and planting times. It was discovered by the owners of the V Bar V Ranch, which was once a thriving cattle operation:

(Click on any image for a larger  version.)

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The chimney is all that remains

The chimney is all that remains

A bit of info about the “calendar” section of the petroglyph wall:

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Here is the actual section; the rocks in the large crack occurred naturally, but were reshaped by the Sinagua to make the sun’s shadow cross certain points or symbols at the equinoxes to indicate planting, harvesting and other ceremonies:

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The symbol in this picture represents the Verde River, and a topographic or aerial map overlaid on it fits it exactly:

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The volunteer giving the lecture (about an hour long) is both highly knowledgeable and passionate about this site; he has actually made several weapons (spear, bow and arrow) from the same materials the Sinagua would have used. Quite a remarkable guy. There is much more to the history of this place (I encourage you to Google it if you are at all interested). It certainly gives one food for thought, and will become another of our best memories.

We stopped at a little picnic area just outside the site and made some lunch, which we ate at a picnic table beside Beaver Creek. We then drove about a half-hour to Tuzigoot National Monument, which is an ancient pueblo built by the Sinagua. It is on a hilltop and consisted of 110 rooms, including second and third story structures. The first rooms were built around A.D. 1000.

Here is a representation of what it might have looked like:

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The following give you an idea of what has been excavated and reconstructed;

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In reality, there were no doorways; access was by ladders through a hole cut in the roof

In reality, there were no doorways; access was by ladders through a hole cut in the roof

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This Monument is of particular interest, because current thinking is that, were it to be discovered today, excavation and reconstruction to the extent that it exists now would probably not occur. Excavation exposed the materials used in the orginal construction to the elements, eroding them. Although the reconstruction has used those original materials, maintenance has become an ongoing problem. In addition, today there is a heightened sensitivity to the concerns of the Sinaguan descendants such as the Hopi Indians who still inhabit the area north of here.

We returned to the campsite around 5.00 after a full day.

 

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