V-Bar-V Heritage Site Petroglyphs (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.













One interesting 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.






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