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Galleries & Exhibitions

"The Blue Valley"

Scheduled for completion in January 2022

The Hopi described the Verde Valley as the “blue valley,” and the Zuni name meant “place of blue ores.” Large quantities of azurite, malachite and hematite, both as rough and finished, were found during archaeological excavations of the area. In addition, the salt from the prehistoric Verde Salt Mine contained blue streaks. Many more types of ore were found during excavations.

In collaboration with the Sedona Gem and Mineral Club, this exhibit includes a display of the blue and other ores used by the Hisatsinom of the area. The inhabitants of the Dyck Cliff Dwelling adorned themselves with various beads and pendants or earrings made from a wide variety of materials – marine shell, freshwater shell, bird bones, large mammal bones, wood, argillite, turquoise, phyllite, basalt, and cut Phragmites reeds. They also wore polished marine shell Ornaments, Minerals, and special rock bracelets probably obtained from the Hohokam. Shell and other ornaments may have been worn simply for pleasure, or during ceremonial events and represented a person’s social status, ethnicity, or membership in a religious or social organization.

In addition, a variety of minerals and rocks were found in the Dyck Cliff Dwelling that were ground into pigments, some of which may have been used for coloring artifacts or for painting faces and other parts of their bodies. These raw materials include hematite, malachite, azurite, kaolinite, and siltstone. Scattered throughout the cliff dwelling and stashed in storage cists were chunks of salt (sodium chloride), most if not all of which was obtained from the Verde Salt Mine located approximately 5 miles (8 km) southwest of the site.

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