Galleries & Exhibitions

Space Rocks! The Camp Verde and other Sinagua Meteorites

The occurrence of meteorites on archaeological sites in North America has been known since the early 19th century. From the Hopewell culture in the eastern United States to the Indians in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, meteorites have been found on these ancient sites. Much like meteorite hunters of today, ancient Native American cultures actively engaged in meteorite collecting. Several meteorite fragments from the Canyon Diablo Meteorite that created Meteor Crater near Flagstaff have been discovered at ancient dwellings in Central Arizona of the Sinagua Culture.

 

A special Grand Opening exhibit will include three meteorites from locations in or near Sinagua sites that are on loan from Arizona State University’s (ASU) Center for Meteorite Studies, and one such meteorite on loan from a private collection. The exhibit describes each meteorite and suggests how they arrived at their locations, many miles from Meteor Crater. Working with ASU, the Verde Valley Archaeology Center (VVAC) studied one meteorite in particular and noted burnt material embedded within crevices. Using radiocarbon dating, the VVAC was able to confirm its location within the ancient dwelling and confirm the date of the site’s destruction by fire. This meteorite is included in the exhibit with a description of the Center’s work. This exhibit is in cooperation with Arizona State University and Meteor Crater.

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