Friday, December 1, 2017

Montezuma Castle and V bar V

November 25 (Saturday)

We decided to give the V bar V site another try. It was closed on Wednesday when we went there. First though we thought we should go to Montezuma's Castle. This weekend is extremely busy given the Thanksgiving long weekend and we wanted to beat the rush. We got there about 9:30 and found about a half full parking lot.

The concrete level path made for an easy walk. The 'castle' soon came into view. Five stories of living quarters which were entered through the roof.

Interesting, the remaining structure was likely not the largest that existed at this site.

The holes in the walls are actually the position of supporting timbers for the inside rooms.

A model of what life may have been like in the time of occupancy ~ 1200AD

All of the National Monuments  we have visited have interpretive signage that explain the fauna of the area. I am so impressed with the Arizona Cypress. The bark is almost a camouflage texture. These are huge trees. Beams made from these trees are actually still in the dwellings in the cliffs. 800 years old! 

There was a gentleman from Phoenix working on some pottery. He explained it is a dying art and no one else in his tribe has picked up this craft.

He made some beautiful pottery.

The crowds were definitely getting bigger as we left for the V bar V petroglyph site a few miles to the Northeast.

This is the location of an old historic ranch.  The fireplace remains from the ranch house.

The old fences still exist and stones indicate the old foundations and stone walls.

A nice path through the woods takes us to the stone wall covered in ancient petroglyphs. Some are estimated at 3-4000 years old, but the majority are Sinaguan-era carvings. Thought to be 800 - 900 years old the meanings behind each are subject to interpretation. Our docent interpreter (very good by the way) told us that archaeologists have debated their meaning for years. They do agree that likely the persons responsible for the carvings were tribe leaders or Shamins. Also, that some of the symbols seem to align to phases of the sun. The interpreter told some great stories of the various symbols, and as stated before the true meaning of them may be lost to history. Very entertaining to us though.

As with all petroglyphs, their meaning is very much open to interpretation.

These older ones are chipped into the rock. The oldest are faded the most.

This stone was placed here. It looks like a knife but when viewed with the serrations pointed up it resemble the San Francisco mountain range by Flagstaff. Coincidence? Maybe.

Now this tells a story.....or many. Some of these symbols appear to align with a solar calendar. When the shadows strike them at solar equinox, they think it told them to plant, or harvest, their corn. Hmmm.

Some of the symbols may represent clans, such as the turtle looking figures.

On the way back to Camp Verde you pass along this road with Pecan trees along the edge. This is a very nice area.
The road to Camp Verde from V bar V

We also made a stop at the Verde Valley Archeology Center in Camp Verde on the way back to the campground. A docent took us through the displays that really helped us tie together the various pieces of information we have learned from all the sites we have visited since getting to Arizona. Tasayan, Homolovi, Wapatki, Walnut Canyon, Toozigoot, Montezuma Castle, and the Petroglyphs. We have yet to see the Honanki and Palatki sites. So are we experts in Sinaguan history? Nope. Is it interesting? Oh yeah.

That was Our View From Here!


  1. You guys have certainly seen a lot in a short time. That's what's so great about this lifestyle.
    Safe travels!

    1. Just trying to keep up with you guys! :-)
      We're in Yuma now and Cheryl says we need to slow down. I'm good with that.
      Travel safe!