10/27/2012 3:58:00 PM New Verde Valley Archaeology Center to open Saturday
Jim Graceffa, president of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center, stands before a new display featuring items on loan from Camp Verde developer Scott Simonton. They were found during the excavation of a pit house village found on the Simonton Ranch property. (VVN/Steve Ayers)
After working out an agreement with the descendents of long-time valley ranchers Frank and Ethel Goddard, the VVAC is now displaying items from the family’s private collection.
CAMP VERDE - When the Town of Camp Verde decided to turn its visitor center over to the Verde Valley Archaeology Center, it was done so with hope and great expectations.
Next Saturday, when the VVAC opens its doors to the public, it is the center's hope that they have lived up to those expectations.
"We had a lot of professional archaeologist in here last week for the symposium and they were all impressed by what we had done. Our hope now is that the rest of world will feel the same," said VVAC founder and treasurer, Ken Zoll.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, the center will host its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
While the volunteers were busy upgrading the building and installing display cases, members of the board of directors were busy looking to add to the center's displays.
They scored two very welcome additions.
The biggest one came from the family of Verde Valley pioneers Frank and Ethel Godard. The longtime ranchers amassed quite a collection over the years, including items purchased from William Berriman Back.
Back once owned Montezuma Well and, while it was privately held, collected a significant inventory of pottery, tools and jewelry from the site. It is the first time any of the items have been on public display
The other major addition came from Camp Verde developer Scott Simonton. When Simonton was developing Simonton Ranch, he uncovered a significant pit house village. Rather than blade over it, as he had every right to, he paid to have it professionally excavated.
A new display entitled "Prehistoric Life in Camp Verde" features dozens of items found at the site. Like the Goddard display, it is the first time any of the items have been on public display.
Other exhibits feature rock art, pottery, the Sinagua culture, Honanki ruin outside of Sedona and a history and artifacts from the Yavapai-Apache Nation.
They also have a looping video of valley archaeology on display.
The center will eventually house a children's archaeology room, a research center and a curation room.
The VVAC is located at 385 S. Main St. in downtown Camp Verde.