Welcome to Sinagua Sunwatchers, the official site of the archaeoastronomy survey of the V-Bar-V Heritage Site in the Coconino National Forest near Sedona, Arizona.
Seasonal calendars were a foundation of early cultures to identify the time for hunting and gathering, planting and harvesting, worshiping and celebrating. Solar seasonal calendars have been identified at Anasazi sites in Arizona and New Mexico, at Hohokam sites in the Phoenix region, and at Northern Sinagua locations near Flagstaff, Arizona. While there have been anecdotal reporting of rock art with solar significance within Southern Sinagua areas, none have been documented. This study describes the recently discovered solar markings employing the midday sun at the V-Bar-V Heritage Site near Sedona, Arizona. The Southern Sinagua created the rock art petroglyphs at V-Bar-V sometime during their use of the site between A.D. 900 and 1400.
Archaeoastronomy is one of the disciplines that has appeared in recent years as a way of interpreting rock art. Dozens of interactions have been claimed for sites around the world, and especially here in the Southwest. There is no question that astronomical observations were important to cultures throughout the world, at all stages of cultural development. But it is difficult to evaluate claims of deliberate, planned interactions with all the variables that exist in the astronomical end of things, let alone the cultural variables that we can never know with certainty. So the first question enquiring minds have to ask is “So there’s an interesting interaction on the summer solstice – so what happens here during the rest of the year?” As far as can be determined through an extensive search of available research, such a simple test has never been done by proponents of archaeoastronomical explanations of rock art. This gap in archaeoastronomy studies is what prompted this survey. It is believed that this is the major value of the survey – it provides a complete year of data that everyone can now look at to evaluate claims of potential astronomical interactions at the V-Bar-V Heritage Site, with its extensive petroglyph panels.
Archaeological research suggests that the area surrounding the V-Bar-V site was used extensively for agricultural purposes. This survey strongly suggests the presence of an agrarian and ceremonial calendar covering the equinoxes, the solstices, and the times for early and full corn planting, as well as times for other ceremonial events important to the culture of the time. The use of multiple astronomical images for each calendar marking greatly reduces the probability that such markings were chance occurrences. The intricate geometry presented by the marking events is too exact to discount.