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The Native American Heritage Pathway

The second development project of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center Campus is the Native American Heritage Pathway.

As described elsewhere, the 15.28 acre property contains a prehistoric pit house village of eight to ten dwellings. They are arranged in a arching pattern along the east and north end of the property. The one pit house that was excavated in the original archaeological investigation contained burials. It is therefore likely that additional burials are contained in other pit houses. As a result, the Center has decided to leave the majority of the property undeveloped and designated as a Native American Heritage Park with an educational pathway.

The Center received a grant from the National Park Service River, Trails and Conservation Program that provided expert assistance in determining the location of the pathway. The pathway will be part of the Verde River "String of Pearls" system that will run along the river.

The course of the pathway was identified in April 2017. In the coming months, the trail will be cleared of vegetation to prepare the surface for a handicap-accessible pathway. The goal is to complete the pathway and open it to the public by the end of 2017.

We are extremely grateful to the families below who donated the funds for each of the plaques and benches.

Educational Plaques

The primary purpose of the pathway is to provide an educational opportunity for members, residents and children to learn about the people who lived on this property as early as 540 A.D. Due to the generosity of our members, the plaques are fully-funded and will be fabricated over the summer. The plaques and benches will be as follows:

1- The Pit House
Plaque sponsored by Mary Byrd in memory of Harris Byrd
Bench sponsored by Nils and Janet Anderson
This plaque will describe 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.

2 - Family Life
Plaque sponsored by George and Carole Dvorak
Bench sponsored by Bridget Highfill
This plaque will describe 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.

3- Wildlife
Plaque sponsored by Joe and Sonya Landholm
Bench sponsored by Mary Byrd in memory of Harris Byrd
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.

4 - Hunting
Plaque sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Dennison Shaw, Jr.
Bench sponsored by Mike and Barbara Cadwell
The Paul Dyck Collection was from a site in nearby Rimrock, less than two miles from this site. The collection included a variety of snares, nets and bows and arrows that would have been used in their hunting techniques.

5 - Yavapai-Apache Wickiup
Plaque sponsored by 
Bench sponsored by 

Most Yavapai and Apache Indians lived in wickiups. Wickiups are small round or cone-shaped houses made of a willow frame covered with brush.


Outdoor Classroom
Area sponsored by George and Pat Witteman
Benches sponsored by Todd and Heidi Bostwick, Susan and Avrum Cohen, Stan and Sue Loft, Michael Pollard and Mary Wiseman
This area along the trail will include a number of benches and a platform to be used for occasional lectures and classes.

6 - Native American Ancestral Garden
Area sponsored by Donalyn Mikles
Benches sponsored by Jerry and Janet Walters, Jim and Elaine Worthington, Lee and Jean Silver
The Center has an agreement with the Ancestral Garden Association to develop a garden of traditional Native American plants.

7 - Gathering Garden 
Plaque sponsored by Ruthmary Lovitt
This part of the garden will feature plants that would have been available in the area for the gathering of food stuffs.

8 - Farming Garden
Plaque sponsored by Dean and Kathi Olson
This part of the garden will feature corn, squash, beans and cotton typically grown in this type of village.

9 - Agave Garden
Plaque sponsored by Larry Watkins
Working with the Desert Botanical Garden, this part of the garden will feature varieties of agave that would have been collected and roasted.

10 - Pathway Horticulture
Plaques sponsored by George and Pat Witteman
There will be several signs identifying the various native plants along the pathway.

Pathway Map

Welcome Plaque

Pit House Plaque