Sunday, March 8, 2009

The V-Bar-V Heritage Site, near Sedona, Arizona

The V-Bar-V Heritage Site is an amazing collection of petroglyphs done by the Sinagua people over a thousand years ago. If you do not know, a petroglyph is, it is a symbol etched into desert varnish (the blackened area), and have been found all over the world. Interestingly enough – some of the same symbols that are found in north America have also been found in Australia – how that happened is still a mystery.

It is thought that the petroglyph site at V-Bar-V was a sacred area where shamans prayed and the people visited for spiritual rituals, such as fertility or rain. The petroglyphs at V-Bar-V number over 1,000! Among the individual symbols, there was even a calendar devoted to agriculture – for example, at the Spring equinox, the sun shines through two “shade rocks” and the beam is directly pointed to a “sun” petroglyph, which meant it was time to plant the crops. Other times of the year that the agricultural calendar came into play were the summer solstice, Autumn equinox, winter solstice, and the start of the monsoon (rainy) season.

One of the amazing characteristics of the petroglyphs at the V-Bar-V Heritage Site is the great condition of the petroglyphs – as this area was part of a private ranch for over 100 years, the wall was protected from the public and there is no graffiti and minimal damage to the wall. In fact, the owners of the ranch knew what a sacred area this was, so they fenced it off from their cattle, and the only damage is a few bullet holes from some rowdy cowboys. (Yup – that’s true!)

If you like petroglyphs, then this is a must-see for anyone in this area. You’ll need a Red Rock Pass ($5 per day; $15 per week -available for purchase at the small gift store, which remember, is free if you have one of the America the Beautiful Passes) and it’s off I-17 and Scenic Road 179 on Forest Road 618, just paste the Beaver Creek Campground. Once you park your car, you need to walk down a well-maintained dirt path to the visitors center, check-in, and then walk the ½ mile dirt trail to the site, where a Forest Service Volunteer is able to answer your questions and share the history of the site. The path is do-able on crutches, but as far as wheel-chair accessible, it is flat and a bit rocky, well-worn, but you might want to call to see if they recommend wheelchairs.

**We'll post more photos of the petroglyphs in the next few days...........stay tuned!!**

1 comment:

Jerry and Suzy said...

Bravo to the ranch family! We really need to see this site. If the trail is only "a bit rocky" Suzy's scooter might be able to pass. We'll look into it.

Thanks for finding us another fascinating place to visit!

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