A collection of Native American artifacts from an excavation in Cottonwood inspired the creation of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center. As Arizona Public Radio’s Melissa Sevigny reports, that collection has come home to the Verde Valley.
Housing developers began working on Grey Fox Ridge near the Verde River in 2005. They uncovered an archaeological site once home to the Southern Sinagua.
More than 11,000 artifacts were found, but with no facility nearby qualified to receive them, the plan was to curate them at the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott.
Ken Zoll was president of the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society at the time.
“Everything from the Verde Valley was everywhere except within the Verde Valley,” he said. “We thought that it was important to keep local artifacts local.”
Zoll and his colleagues opened the Verde Valley Archaeology Center in 2010, where Zoll is now the executive director. He says a certification from the Arizona State Museum made it possible for the Center to obtain the Grey Fox Ridge collection this month.
“All the work we’ve put in over the last three, four years—is what turned to be a fairly emotional moment when these boxes started to arrive; that this is what started it all,” Zoll said.
The Center’s staff will catalog the artifacts and hope to open an exhibit next spring.