Apr 2, 2014

Petroglyphs- V-Bar-V Ranch Heritage Site

Petroglyphs are rock engravings created by the pre-historic people by abrading or carving the rock face. V-Bar-V Ranch petroglyphs is the largest known petroglyph site in Verde Valley left by the Sinagua Indians for us to interpret. More than 1000 symbols are on display on this rock. The symbols- mostly classified as zoomorphs and anthromorphs are clearly preserved.

V-bar-V Ranch Petroglyphs near Sedona Arizona

Half a mile well maintained trail from the visitor center takes you to the site which is fenced and manned. The symbols on the rock-face are archaeological data which helps identifying the ancient cultures and people. There might have been more engravings on the adjacent rocks, some traces indicate the same. Weathering have taken away the desert varnish on the rest of the rocks fading away the symbols.

V-bar-V Ranch Petroglyphs near Sedona Arizona
Well then, what is desert varnish? Pre-historic people picked the right rocks that were physically stable, had high resistance for weathering and had a dark shiny coating of darker color. The 'dark shiny coating' is the natural rock varnish or desert varnish. The varnish is composed of clay, manganese and iron oxides. They are formed by the manganese oxidizing micro-organisms found in the areas which are poor in nutrients in the hot deserts.

The symbols here in V-bar-V Ranch represent turtles, antelopes, people, weapons, some geometrical figures like spirals, grids, concentric circles and so on. Interpreting these for me is unimaginable thing. The person in-charge there explained few things about the site. Per him this site might have been a calendar where the pre-historic people recorded weather patterns etc. According to him cuts on the edges of the rock also had significance.

Sometimes, an event of Agave Roast is held at this site. Native American tribe enjoyed roasted agave. It seems it is a hard work which should be done meticulously. I haven't tasted it but have heard it tastes like baked pineapple! The aim of the event is to spread the appreciation for the Native americans once lived in the Verde Valley.

Leave a comment to share your beautiful thoughts and constructive feedback. If you have enjoyed this article then connect with Google+, Twitter, Facebook or subscribe through email for more exciting updates!

Related articles-
Anasazi State Museum, Utah
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Utah's Coral Pink Sand Dunes
Wupatki Ruins National Monument
US Route 89A and a Stalker!
American South-West: A road trip

If you want pictures please ask me :)
Creative Commons License
Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. The Petroglyphs are a cool sight to see, great post. I am amazed at how much you get around, wonderful photos. Have a happy week!

  2. Wow, this is interesting. Have seen such pre historic art works inside Edakkal caves, Wayanad. Nice article, Kusum.

    1. Yes, Edakal caves is a nice location, after a steep climb you get to a cool place :) When I went there visitors were not allowed to take pictures.


I would appreciate to have your precious thoughts, suggestions and kind encouraging words in comments. Please do not include self-promotional links.I am encountering some problems because of these links and hence I may not publish them.