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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials July 22, 2014

2/28/2013 1:05:00 PM
Editorial: Archaeology Month a chance to find the future in the past

As usual, Confucius had it right: “Study the past if you would define the future.”

That is really the most important element of digging up ancient cultures and scouring through our own family histories. It is why the annual Archaeology & Heritage Awareness Month is such a valuable opportunity.

Starting this weekend, there will be all kinds of events available to bring the past to life. You can get your hands dirty, or you can just watch a film. You can learn about life for the Sinagua hundreds of years ago, or you can learn about Verde Valley life in the early 1900s.

Understanding the heritage of the Verde Valley must come before our communities can make real strides in figuring out where we want to go next. Different perspectives on that heritage can be gained from this month’s special events like Clarkdale’s cultural exhibit on the Yavapai-Apache Nation and Bill Cowan’s walking tour of the Back Ranch at Montezuma Well.

March is always a reminder of the great benefit the Verde Valley Archaeology Center is to Camp Verde and the surrounding community. Along with Fort Verde State Park, Montezuma Castle National Monument, U.S. Forest Service and the Camp Verde Historical Society, there is a trove of doorways to the past to be opened. These may often be taken for granted by residents, and Archaeology & Heritage Awareness Month is a prompt to revisit our treasures and find out what’s new in history.

This week, the Verde Independent/Bugle published a list of many of the activities scheduled in the area throughout the month, many beginning Saturday. The list is indeed overwhelming and can cause a bit of giddiness.

The array does demonstrate the richness of the heritage of the Verde Valley. That heritage is, in fact, one of the Valley’s greatest assets. Using that heritage as a strong foundation rather than a footnote may well be the Verde Valley’s way forward as it continues to develop. The Town of Camp Verde, for one, will be exploring those possibilities starting with a work session this morning.

In quickly changing times, Verde Valley communities are constantly trying to define themselves. Learning from the past could very well be the very best way to do that.

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