©Bert Gildart: Certainly one of the most remarkable petroglyph sites we’ve seen in years was the one we saw yesterday at the V-Bar-V Heritage Site.
Once a former ranch the site is located just south of Sedona and is managed (and protected) by the U.S. Forest Service. Adjacent to the site is a lovely campground located along Beaver Creek, and most assuredly the small river was used by the Sinagua, the same group who constructed Tuzigoot.
The site is unique not only because of the huge number of glyphs all contained in one area (a total of 1032 petroglyphs have been identified), but because of some of the figures. Heron-like figures adorn the main panel, but why they dominate is a mystery.
Yet another aspect we appreciated at the V-Bar-V is that there has been little vandalism, and perhaps that is because the ranch was privately owned and not accessible by the general public, a small segment of which has destroyed our antiquities so the majority can no longer enjoy them. As Janie and I have traveled the country we find that is more often the case than not. It’s part of the reason that the Antiquities Act of the early 1900s was necessary. The other reason was to stop the massive pot collecting, rampant at the time. But regardless of how this site came to retain its integrity, it is here now and its features can be studied.
Though many other unique features characterize these panels, one of the most interesting is the paired figures. Look at the
first image carefully, and you’ll see two humans and two large female figures. The panel also contains paired turtles, and I’ve included an example here.
Though all these features are interesting in themselves perhaps the most significant feature of the panel is the presence of symbols that appear to be the sun. Linked to those is a long line and some archaeologist believe the line represents a solar calendar. An entire interpretive booklet discusses the possibility and because light touches the line on the day of the summer solstice, the conclusion is accepted by most.
TIME TO PLANT CORN
Fortifying the hypothesis is the further evidence that the Sinagua were an agricultural based society. It’s an easy step then to say that when the sun strikes the line on the third week it June, it was time to plant corn.
Both Janie and I thoroughly enjoy exploring ancient cultures, and as we’ve discovered, the Sedona area with all of its red rocks was apparently a haven for these land based cultures. Why they departed is the never ending question, but apparently by 1500 or so, they were all gone, absorbed perhaps by other tribes.
Though the V-Bar-V Heritage Site may contain the greatest concentration of petroglyphs in the Verde Valley, there’s yet another site called Palatki that also has interesting examples of Indian rock art, and that is our destination for today.