Verde Valley a hotbed for archaeology festivals this month

If you missed the Arizona Archaeology Expo last weekend, two more archaeology fairs are on tap in Yavapai County before Arizona Archaeology Month comes to an end. The Verde Valley is a hotbed for Archaeology Month activities every year, and this year is no exception.

V Bar V Archaeology Discovery Days takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the V Bar V Heritage Site on the Coconino National Forest east of Sedona.

Then the Verde Valley Archaeology Fair runs the following Saturday and Sunday, March 30-31, at the Camp Verde Community Center at 395 S. Main St.

The Arizona Archaeology Expo took place this year at the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Horseshoe Ranch, surrounded by the Agua Fria National Monument near Cordes Junction. It featured many of the same activities that will take place at V Bar V and Camp Verde.

The V Bar V event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visitors can watch how to make fire by friction alone, learn about yucca fiber sandals and rope, watch cotton being spun, dyed and woven, use an atlatl to throw a dart, learn about local wildlife, watch flint-knapping demonstrations, watch pottery being made and fired, and make a clay 'pinch pot' of their own.

People also can taste traditional foods including parched corn and piki bread, while learning about traditional uses of plants.

The Yavapai Bird Dancers will perform at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

To reach the V Bar V Site from Cordes Junction, go north on Interstate 17 to Exit 298, then drive southeast 2.5 miles on the dirt road. It's OK for cars when it's not raining.

The V Bar V Site also is home to more than 1,000 ancient petroglyphs. Each vehicle needs a $5 Red Rock Pass to park there. Pets are not permitted. No food is available. The trail is wheelchair accessible but the demonstrations take place in a meadow. For more information go online to redrockcountry.org or call 928-592-0998.

The free Verde Valley Archaeology Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 30-31. It features demonstrations and exhibits on pottery sherd identification, stone tools, excavation tools and techniques, prehistoric astronomy. rock art and informational booths.

A special "archaeology for kids" area will let children explore hands-on activities.

The American Indian Art Show also will take place at the Community Center March 30-31. This invitational show features artists with Southwestern tribal affiliations who have exhibited at select Indian markets.

The Turtle Creek Crown Dancers from the White Mountain Apache Tribe will perform the Apache Crown Dance at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, March 30. Then the White Mountain Apache Youth Club will perform dances at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 31.

Additional Native American entertainers will perform throughout the American Indian Art Show.

A related lecture and video will be featured at the nearby Verde Valley Archaeology Center (VVAC), 385 S. Main St. in Camp Verde.

VVAC Director of Archaeology Todd Bostwick will give a presentation on his recent trip to Crete and the Minoan Culture at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 30 at the VVAC.

Then at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 31, VVAC Director Ken Zoll will show the film "Shadows of Time" about the solar calendar at the V Bar V Heritage Site.

For more information on the Camp Verde events go online to NAFestival.org or call 928-567-0066.

The Verde Valley Archaeology Fair is being presented by the Verde Valley Archaeology Center.

• Thursday, March 28 at 10 a.m. - Lecture and tour about environmental influences on Sinagua settlement at Montezuma Castle National Monument, 2800 Montezuma Castle Rd. next to Camp Verde. Entrance fee. See nps.gov/moca.

• Saturday, March 30 at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Free open house at historic George Hance House at 229 Coppinger St. next to Fort Verde State Historic Park in Camp Verde.

• Saturday, March 30 at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Free open house at Camp Verde Historical Society Museum, 435 S. Main St.

• Saturday, March 30 at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Free open house at Camp Verde historic stone jail with blacksmith demonstrations, 44 Hollamon St.

• Saturday, March 30 at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Hubbell Trading Post will give talks at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and sponsor weaving demonstrations throughout the day at Montezuma Castle National Monument near Camp Verde.

The post also will be selling Navajo rugs, Zuni fetishes, Hopi pottery and American Indian jewelry.

• Saturday, March 30 at 2 p.m. - Hopi poet, farmer and katsina carver Ramson Lomatewama talks about Hopi traditions at 7 p.m. at the Sedona Public Library.

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