V-Bar-V Heritage Site
(Verde Valley, Arizona)
by Gary A. David
In Arizona's Verde valley
atop a solitary limestone butte called Sacred Mountain a forty room pueblo once
perched. Perhaps functioning mainly as a trade center, this Sinagua structure
with three room blocks outlining a plaza also hosted a ball court at its base.
"This appears to be the latest court in the Verde Valley, dating to a time
when they were no longer in use in their Hohokam heartland to the south."
[Peter Pilles, Jr., “The Southern Sinagua,” People of the Verde Valley
(Flagstaff, Arizona: Museum of Northern Arizona, Plateau, Vol. 53, No. 1, 1984,
reprint 1981), p. 14] All that remains today are the fallen blocks of this village.
Not far from the
pueblo is a large petroglyph panel known today as the V-Bar-V Heritage Site. This
is a richly evocative site of great spirituality and complexity. Densely carved
by indirect percussion with hammerstones and flint chisels on a vertical rock
face of red sandstone darkened by patina, the petroglyphs include both male and
female anthropomorphs (some with enlarged hands or multiple arms), zoomorphs (viz.,
deer, elk, cougars, antelopes, and either coyotes or dogs), blue herons, lizards,
centipedes, clan markings such as Bear and Snake, both round and square spirals,
concentric circles, grids, rectangles, abstract designs, sunbursts, equilateral
crosses (i.e., stars), dots (one group forming what looks like a spiral galaxy!),
and a possible star and crescent moon juxtaposition (the A.D. 1054 supernova?)
The glyphs have well defined edges and in general do not overlap. Many of the
human and animal figures as well as the foot/paw prints have a small cupule signifying
the heart of each glyph.
grouping shows two frog people still with tadpole tails (or possibly turtle people)
emerging from a horizontal crack in the rock which represents the Underworld of
the spirits. Above these images is carved a copulating couple together with a
zigzag snake ending in a spiral. Thus, two traditional symbols of water are closely
related here to a depiction of fertility.