Heritage Pathway & Garden
About the Native American Heritage Garden
The Center's property in Camp Verde contains a prehistoric pit house village below ground. The initial investigation identified eight to ten pit house structures. Subsequent surveys have revealed that there are twenty archaeological features, mostly pit houses but extramural hearths (fire pits outside a dwelling) as well. They are arranged in an arching pattern along the east and north end of the property. One pit house was excavated. The Center decided to leave the majority of the property undeveloped and designated as a Native American Heritage Preserve with an educational pathway and traditional use garden.
The Center received a grant from the National Park Service River, Trails and Conservation Program in 2016 that provided expert assistance in determining the location of the pathway. The pathway is part of the Verde River "String of Pearls" system that that is currently being developed to run along the river. For Directions to the park click HERE.
The primary purpose of the pathway is to provide an educational opportunity for members, residents, visitors, and children to learn about the people who lived on this property as early as 540 A.D. The plaques were fully-funded due to the generosity of our members. There is a QR Code located on each interpretive sign linked to this website to provide additional information.
Exhibit sponsored by Ruthmary Lovitt
The Pit House - This exhibit describes the construction methods of the pit house that was excavated. The Center will be seeking a grant to construct a replica pit house on this spot. The exhibit is sponsored by Mary Byrd in memory of Harris Byrd and the bench is sponsored by Nils and Janet Anderson.
Village Life - This exhibit describes the structure of this pit house village - how the dwellings were arranged as well as a description of the artifacts found that tell the story of trade with neighboring people. The exhibit is sponsored by George and Carole Dvorak and the bench is sponsored by Bridget Highfill.
Wildlife - The excavation of the pit house at location 1 included various animal bones. This finding together with historical information, will present the wildlife that these people would have experienced. This exhibit is sponsored by Joe and Sonya Landholm and the bench sponsored by Mary Byrd in memory of Harris Byrd.
Hunting - The Paul Dyck Collection was from a site in nearby Rimrock, less than two miles from this site. This collection includes a variety of snares, nets, and bows and arrows that would have been used in their hunting techniques. This exhibit is sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Dennison Shaw, Jr. and the bench is sponsored by Mike and Barbara Cadwell.
Yavapai-Apache Wickiup - Most Yavapai and Apache Indians lived in wickiups. Wickiups are small round or cone-shaped houses made of a willow frame covered with brush. While there is no direct evidence that either the Yavapai or Apache lived on this property, it is likely that the Yavapai associated with the people of this pit house village. This exhibit is sponsored by George and Pat Witteman and the bench is sponsored by Todd and Heidi Bostwick.
Outdoor Classroom - This area along the trail includes several tables to be used for occasional lectures and classes. The area is sponsored by George and Pat Witteman.
Native American Ancestral Garden - The Center maintains a garden of traditional Native American plants. This exhibit is sponsored by Donalyn Mikles of the Kling Family Foundation. The garden benches are sponsored by Susan and Avrum Cohen, Jim and Elaine Worthington, and Stan and Sue Loft.
Prehistoric Farming - This part of the garden features corn, squash, beans and cotton, typically grown in this type of village. This exhibit is sponsored by Dean and Kathi Olson.
Prehistoric Tools - With donations from Desert Botanical Garden, this part of the garden feature varieties of agave that would have been collected and roasted. This exhibit is sponsored by Larry Watkins.
Pathway Horticulture - There will be several signs identifying the various native plants along the pathway. The plaques are sponsored by George and Pat Witteman. The Pathway benches are sponsored by Lee and Jean Silver and Michael Pollard and Mary Wiseman.