Alternate Perceptions Magazine, February 2019
Remote and Obscure Archaeological Sites in Arizona
by: Dr. Greg Little
If I’m around long enough and remain essentially functional, I’ll perhaps have a guidebook to the remote, out of the way, and seldom visited sites in various states. I’ve been slowly putting together material from Arizona and the southwest and the region is simply packed with sites. There are so many I’m not really sure that it’s necessary. You can go almost anywhere in Arizona and stumble onto ruins. Here are few notable (but obscure) ones.
Sedona has numerous sites in the area. The V-Bar-V Ranch petrogylphs are a Sinagua site dated to around 1150 AD. There are several very impressive petroglyphs there. It is easy to find directions to the easily accessible site, but check for open hours. Another interesting site near Sedona is the Palatki Heritage Site. If you aren’t in a sturdy or rugged vehicle, it’d be good idea to take a tour jeep to it. However, if the dirt roads are dry, it’s possible to access it via car if you are careful. It is located in the Coronado National Forest. It is dated to about 1100 AD and consists of cliff ruins that you can walk through as well as several impressive petroglyphs.
Phoenix also has countless archaeological sites, both large and small in the region. One of the most impressive is the Painted Rock Petroglyph Site near Theba, AZ. It is a remote and desert-surrounded site with dozens of smaller sites are in the area. It is a large mound of large stones and boulders, which are covered in well-preserved rock carvings. There are hundreds to thousands of carvings on the rocks. It is accredited to the Hohokam people and archaeologists believe that the carvings were made from as early as 7500 BC to perhaps 1450 AD. It is a bonanza for those inclined to attribute some carvings to visitations by Ancient Aliens.
Closer to Tucson is a curious site called the “Romero Ruins,” located in Catalina State Park with easy access. It is a Hohokam complex sitting on the top of a hill with the majestic, snow-covered Catalina Mountains serving as a backdrop. Its occupation began around AD 500. An unmarked but quite visible trail leads on into the mountains. There are unmarked ruins that are found at various points along the trail. We hiked a few miles toward the mountains from the main ruins and found numerous tracks from mountain lions.
East of Phoenix lie the Superstition Mountains with their own unique mysteries. One long, steep, and rocky pathway leads to the Heiroglyphic Trail. A couple miles from the parking area you encounter a small seasonal pool with a rocky outcrop along its edge. On that outcrop are many impressive petroglyphs. Further along and up the trail and on the cliffsides of the surrounding mountains there are hundreds of petroglyph carvings. This can be a strenuous hike and there are several dangerous areas to navigate.