The Verde Valley contains some of Arizona's greatest archaeological sites. Please take a few minutes to
familiarize yourself with this site etiquette guide that will
facilitate an enjoyable visit for you, AND for others who follow you. Archaeological sites are the remains of a long occupation of
prehistoric, protohistoric, and historic cultures. They are a fragile
and non-renewable resource. You are responsible for the stewardship of
these ruins, both for public enjoyment and education, and for preserving
their scientific values.
ALL OF THE SITES ON THE SINAGUA CIRCLE TOUR ARE MONITORED BY THE PARK SERVICE, FOREST SERVICE OR MEMBERS OF THE ARIZONA STATE HISTORICAL PRESERVATION SITE STEWARD PROGRAM.
The following guidelines will help you
minimize impacts to archaeological sites and prevent our site stewards from reporting incidents:
- Walls are fragile and continually deteriorating. That is
why they are called “ruins.” Climbing, sitting or standing on walls can
damage them. Also, picking up or moving rocks alters the walls forever.
- Artifacts, where they lay, tell a story. Once they are moved, a piece of the past is destroyed forever. Digging, removing artifacts, or piling them up changes what can be learned from these pieces of the past.
- Cultural deposits, including the soil on an archaeological site, are important for scientific tests and are used in reconstructing past
environments. For instance, from such information we can learn what
kinds of plants were be used by the past inhabitants. Please carry out any trash (especially organic remains) you may have while visiting a site.
- Fragile desert plants and soils that are part of archaeological
sites are destroyed when you stray from the trail. Also, snakes and
other small desert animals make their homes in the bushes and under
rocks and in burrows . . . you may disturb them. Please stay on trails … they are there for your protection and the protection of fragile cultural remains.
- Fire destroys prehistoric organic materials, ruins the dating potential of artifacts, and damages or even destroys rock art. Absolutely no fires, candles, or smoking should occur at archaeological sites.
- Oils from even the cleanest hands can cause deterioration of
prehistoric drawings and ruin the dating potential for future scientists
trying to unravel the meaning of symbols painted and pecked on stone. Please refrain from touching rock art.
- Graffiti (drawing/painting, scratching, and carving) is
destructive and can destroy rock art, as well as deface wooden/stone
buildings. Graffiti destroys rock art as well as other values.
- Pets damage sites by digging, urinating and defecating in them.
They can destroy fragile cultural deposits and frighten other visitors
and native animals. Please do not bring pets onto archaeological sites.
Finally, be aware of your surroundings when you are outdoors. Avoid
driving or riding your bicycle through sites; pitching your camp in a
site; dismantling historic buildings for firewood or any other use; and,
camping, or making campfires, in historic buildings.
All archaeological sites on public (federal and state) land in
Arizona are protected by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and
state laws that prohibit digging, removing artifacts, damaging and/or
defacing archaeological resources; these laws provide for both felony
and misdemeanor charges with jail time, confiscation of property, and
large fines. Arizona state law also protects graves (human remains) and
grave goods located on state and private land.
If you see people vandalizing sites, please report it as soon as
possible to the public land manager (e.g., the Forest Service, the
Arizona State Land Department, etc.) or their law enforcement entity.
By following these simple guidelines, YOU can help preserve these unique and fragile remains of OUR American heritage. Remember, THE FUTURE OF THE PAST DEPENDS ON YOU! Thanks for your cooperation, and we hope that you enjoy visiting archaeological sites in the Verde Valley!