Tue, Aug. 03

Archaeology Center celebrates 10 years with virtual gala
Online event also benefits struggling Native American artists

Navajo flutist R. Carlos Nakai

Navajo flutist R. Carlos Nakai


Dr. Brian Fagan


Gary Stroutsos


Dr. Todd Bostwick

CAMP VERDE -- The Verde Valley Archaeology Center is marking International Archaeology Day and its Tenth Anniversary with a Virtual Gala Benefit.

International Archaeology Day (IAD) is a celebration of archaeology and its contributions to society. Every October the Archaeological Institute of American and archaeological organizations around the world, such as the Verde Valley Archaeology Center (VVAC), present archaeological programs and activities. The VVAC has held the Annual Gala, its most important fundraising event of the year, on International Archaeology Day. This year VVAC is going digital. Executive Director Ken Zoll says “Social distancing won’t stop us from virtually gathering together to support the mission of the VVAC.” 2020 is also the VVAC’s Tenth Anniversary. So VVAC is celebrating both International Archaeology Day and their 10th Anniversary on Saturday, October 17, with an entertaining and interesting program of speakers and entertainment on the virtual benefit website The 45-minute Virtual Program will begin at 4:00 pm and be available to view at any time until 9:00 pm. Highlights of the Program include:

• Dr. Todd Bostwick on the importance of the Dyck Cliff Dwelling Collection from Rimrock

• A music video filmed at the Grand Canyon Watchtower by flutist Gary Stroutsos on the Hopi long flute

• A virtual tour of Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments with remarks by Superintendent Dorothy Firecloud

• Dr. Brian Fagan, international best-selling archaeologist and author, on the need for museums today

• An exclusive music video and endorsement by Navajo flutist R. Carlos Nakai

• Virtual tours of the V bar V, Palatki and Honanki Forest Service Heritage Sites

Beginning with the Virtual Gala, the VVAC is launching a "Sponsor a Square Campaign" to liquidate the Center's property loan obligation. In 2015, VVAC was gifted 15.25 acres of land in Camp Verde that included an ancient pit house village dated to 650 A.D. The appraisal of the land at the time was $1.32 million. The donor only requested a payment of $250,000. This was a bargain the VVAC could not refuse in order to preserve this important archaeological site. A bank loan was acquired to meet this obligation. Upon acquiring title to the property, an extensive archaeological surface survey was undertaken to collect as much data as possible. The property was divided into 100 25-meter squares. Each square was then divided again into four 6.25-meter squares to narrow down the survey locations, resulting in 400 survey squares. Over 30,000 pottery sherds were collected. For $500, individuals can sponsor one of the 400 squares to help the VVAC liquidate the debt. Each donation will be recognized with an 8" x 8" paver brick, with up to six lines of text, that will be placed in the Courtyard Garden of the future archaeology campus.

A traditional Silent Auction of over 75 items will also benefit Hopi, Zuni and other Native American artists who are struggling with the closing of their areas from tourists who have been a major source of sales. The VVAC purchased many items, and consigned others, from Native American artists for the Auction. Other items include gift certificates, art glass, golf outings, and many more. The Silent Auction opened on Sunday, October 11 and will close after the Virtual Program on Saturday, October 17 at 9:00 pm (MST). The Raffle, featuring over 25 items, is also available online.

A unique offering is the opportunity to purchase a Non-Banquet Banquet Ticket. Since the standard banquet cannot take place, the VVAC is offering tickets to receive the menu recipes that they might have served had they had a real banquet event. The

menu was prepared by professional chef, Gay Chanler. As an extra bonus, the first 25 who purchase a Non-Banquet Banquet Ticket will receive a package of ingredients to prepare the menu to serve on the day of the Virtual Gala.

The Verde Valley Archaeology Center is a nonprofit educational organization with a museum and collection repository in Camp Verde. It is the only organization in the Verde Valley region dedicated to the care, management and curation of archaeological sites and artifacts found throughout the Sedona/Verde Valley region. The VVAC is the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service for Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot national monuments. Additional information on the VVAC and the Virtual Gala can be found at or by calling 928-567-0066. The museum has reopened with a reserved, time-entry ticketing system that ensures a safe environment with cleaning after each reservation.

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