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Communications no longer etched in stone

Today’s readers demand timely, relevant information across a variety of media
Story and photos by: Glen Liford 8/7/2019


The purpose of the petroglyphs found at V Bar V Heritage Site in the Verde Valley south of Sedona, Ariz., is debated by the experts. The symbols reflect important elements of the prehistoric creators’ lives — animals, weather, stars, sun, and moon, among others.
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Several years ago on our first visit to Arizona, my wife Tisa and I first came across Native American petroglyphs, or rock art, on a trip that included stops in many of the national parks found in the state. I forget now where we saw the first collection of the mysterious markings — I think it was probably in the painted desert of the Petrified Forest National Park — but we soon discovered these sites were scattered throughout the Southwest.

Towards the end of that trip as we were leaving Sedona, Ariz., we stopped at the Montezuma Castle National Monument to visit some cliff dwellings once used by the Sinagua people, ancestors of the Hopi and Yavaapai tribes common to the area. We talked with a park ranger there, and the subject of the petroglyphs came up. He recommended a stop at the nearby V Bar V Heritage Site if we were really interested in seeing more.

We were not disappointed. After a drive along some bumpy, dusty gravel roads and a short walk along a shady, flat trail, the impressive collection was easily viewed. The site consists of 1,232 images and is the largest known site for petroglyphs in the Verde Valley. Researchers believe most were produced by the Sinagua from about 900 to 1350 A.D.

Their purpose is the cause for much debate among the experts. Some think they were inscribed during special religious ceremonies. Others believe they are merely prehistoric graffiti. Some researchers believe they are like a community newspaper, documenting times of famine, periods of plenty, and the day-to-day activities in the prehistoric people’s lives. Common symbols are signs for elements important to their livelihood — weather, animals, sun, moon, stars, and crops. Their full purpose and the creators’ intentions may never be fully known. But they have left an intriguing mystery for us to ponder.

Fortunately, our modern methods of communication are much easier to decipher, and we have relevant context we are lacking with these ancient petroglyphs. Plus, in this fast-moving world in which we live, items etched in stone soon become out of date and far less relevant than the timely communications our society now demands.

This month, TFC is rolling out a redesign of our website as part of a new emphasis on electronic communications. You can read more about it and the features of the redesign on page 5 of this issue. We are calling this electronic push Co-op 365. You may have already seen the term if you visit our social media outlets. The initiative reflects our commitment to helping you stay connected to the Co-op community and all the products, services, and expertise we offer 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We invite you to stop by and check out what these new methods offer. We will be delivering fresh content to the page and through our social media channels that won’t be available in print. This doesn’t mean that The Cooperator will no longer be relevant. We still plan to offer the content you enjoy so much in this traditional manner. But much of it may find its way to a new audience via these new communications methods. We hope you will stay connected in the way you find most convenient. Let us know your thoughts.

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