Archaeology Fair offers a hands-on look at past

The Sign on the Stone will be screened at Boler's Red Barn during the festival.

The Sign on the Stone will be screened at Boler's Red Barn during the festival.

CAMP VERDE - This weekend's Verde Valley Archaeology Fair will be a coming-out party for the new Verde Valley Archaeology Center.

It is the center's opportunity to roll out the carpet for the larger Verde Valley community to see what they, as well as the valley's rich history, have to offer.

"It's a coming-out party for the center and a chance for the public to learn about who we are and what we are doing. We have venues scheduled throughout the weekend that will appeal to all ages and interests," said Ken Zoll, spokesperson for the VVAC.

The fair runs two days, Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. All events will be held in downtown Camp Verde, at the Community Center at Main Street and Hollamon Street, and at Boler's Red Barn, also on Main Street.

The fair will feature an Archaeology for Kids Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with several hands-on activities, including making pottery, drawing rock art, grinding corn, making shell jewelry and even participating in a "sandbox" archaeology dig.

"One of the focuses of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center is to teach kids about archaeology, how it's done and why it is so important in a place like the Verde Valley to preserve what we have," said Jim Graceffa, president of the VVAC.

The fair will also feature a Native American art show and an International Archaeology Documentary Film Festival

The Verde Valley Archaeology Center formed in October 2010 and opened a museum and research center in May 2011.

Todd Bostwick, the former archaeologist for the City of Phoenix and a well-respected authority on prehistoric Arizona cultures, joined the center as its director last year.

Plans are currently under way for the VVAC to host the first professional archaeological symposium focusing on the Sinagua culture, the mysterious early inhabitants of the Verde Valley, in October.

Among the archaeology based organizations participating in the fair are the National Park Service, Arizona Archaeology Society, Arizona Natural History Association and the Arizona Site Steward Program.

Film Festival Schedule

All films presented at Boler's Red Barn 325 S. Main Street, Camp Verde

Tickets are $10 per day ($5 for members of the VVAC)

Saturday 1 p.m.

Stone Age Artists: The Magdalenian Masters: The story of the art and artist who created some of prehistory's greatest masterpieces on cave walls in Southern France (France, 52 min.)

Saturday 2:30 p.m.

Historic Archaeology: Beneath Kentucky's Fields and Streets: A documentary on the research into four historical periods of the commonwealth (USA, 58 min.)

Sunday 1 p.m.

The Secret of the Snake Goddess: This film challenges the commonly held beliefs about the Minoan culture, long thought to have been the cradle of European civilization (Canada, 52 min).

Sunday 2:30 p.m.

The Sign on the Stone: The unknown Sahara of the Peoples with no name: A history of the prehistoric people of the Sahara and their dealings with a fickle environment, told through their art (Italy, 59 min.)

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