Archaeology Center discovers vandalism at protected Cornville site
CORNVILLE -- The mission of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center includes the protection and preservation of archaeological sites in the Verde Valley.
VVAC Site Watch (www.vvarchcenter.org/sitewatch) is a program of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center that promotes the importance of education about our common cultural and natural heritages and encourages public responsibility in the protection and preservation of cultural and natural resources on public and private lands.
Last August, Site Watch volunteers discovered active vandalism at a site on the Coconino National Forest in Cornville as evidenced by freshly dug soil and collection buckets.
The vandals were digging in an ancient dwelling room apparently in search of possible artifacts to sell. It was reported to U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement officials and archaeologists. Another incident of vandalism was discovered by Site Watch volunteers the week before at a second site in Cornville.
During the most recent visit to the area, additional illegal digging was discovered. At least 10 holes had been dug in the historic portion of the property among old cans and bottles. The thieves were apparently looking for antique items to sell that were left by early pioneers in the area.
Human activities impact the integrity of historic and ancient archaeological sites. When sites are damaged, important information about past lifeways is lost because the people of the past will never be here again to live their lives as they once did.
The evidence they left in these sites is finite and cannot renew itself once it has been disturbed. Some of Cornville’s history has now been destroyed.
The VVAC and the Forest Service relies on volunteers to periodically visit sites to hopefully deter vandals. The Archaeology Center plans to increase visitation by its volunteers to monitor the site.
The VVAC requests the assistance of public to report vandalism. If vandalism has been discovered or observed, the Center asks the public to call or leave a voice message at 928-567-0066, or email email@example.com. Include as much information on the location as possible such as what trail you were on. You do not have to leave your contact information unless you wish to receive a follow up report.
The Center cautions that if vandalism is in progress, do not confront the individual(s) for your own safety. A photo, including of nearby parked vehicles, would be helpful if you can safely take one.
If you discover suspected past vandalism, a report should be made but do not walk around the site unnecessarily since law enforcement will be looking for clues that you may inadvertently disturb. Your call or email information will be forwarded to the site watch volunteer assigned to that location who will visit the site and report to the appropriate official.
The Verde Valley Archaeology Center is located at 385 S. Main St., Camp Verde. The museum exhibits are free to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional information on the Center’s activities, including the Site Watch program, is available at www.vvarchcenter.org, or by calling 928-567-0066.
Information provided by Verde Valley Archaeology Center.
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