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Sherman Loy Memorial Award recipient announced

Shelby Coody recognized for preserving, protecting archeological sites

Shelby Coody during the mapping of the John Heath Ruin in Camp Verde in 1985. (Courtesy Photo)

Shelby Coody during the mapping of the John Heath Ruin in Camp Verde in 1985. (Courtesy Photo)

CAMP VERDE – The recipient is chosen based on contributions to our knowledge of archaeology and active participation in the preservation or protection of archaeological sites. The 2017 recipient is Shelby Coody of Lake Montezuma. The award will be presented on September 26 at 6:30 pm in the Cliff Castle Casino Lodge Conference Center.

Born in 1924, Shelby is a World War II U.S. Air Force veteran. After the war he earned a B.S. degree in education and taught school for five years before becoming a designer for Rockwell International for 25 years. Before his retirement to Arizona in 1978, he worked on the space shuttle program. Shortly after arriving in Lake Montezuma he became interested in the rich cultural heritage of the area. Being a licensed pilot he began to fly over the Verde Valley doing aerial reconnaissance. He covered over 14,400 acres in 1986 alone and located eighty-one archaeological sites. The U.S. Forest Service acknowledged that “most of which were not previously known.” The Forest Service recognized his work with an award in 1987 for greatly augmenting the site inventory records. Using his design skills from Rockwell International, he began to prepare detailed instrument maps of several major pueblos including the ruins at Sacred Mountain, John Heath Ruin, Jackson Ranch Ruin, the Red Tank Draw petroglyphs and assisted at Clear Creek Ruin. These were the first detailed maps ever made that greatly increased the knowledge and appreciation of these significant sites.

Shelby was also one of the first site stewards with the Arizona Site Steward Program. The site steward program was begun in 1987 by the Arizona Archaeology Advisory Commission. It is operated by the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office. He was appointed as a site steward on April 1, 1988. At the time of his appointment, Shelby was assigned to monitor twenty-one sites including the Sacred Mountain Ruin in the Beaver Creek area. In 1992 he was awarded the “Thief of Time Award” by the Forest Service and the Arizona Site Steward Program for his dedication and stewardship of the sites.

This award is named in honor of Sherman Loy, of Red Rock, near Sedona. He was the scion of two pioneer families, the Schuermans of Red Rock and the Loys of Cornville. He was born August 5, 1926, in Cornville and died in 2011 in Sedona. Sherman spent most of his growing up years on the Schuerman Homestead on Red Rock Loop Road and attended the Red Rock School and Clarkdale High School. He attended Arizona State University and completed his education at the University of Omaha. He served in the Army in World War II in the Philippines and later in Korea, Germany and Vietnam. He retired as a Major in 1970 and returned to his home in Red Rock. Upon returning, he spent time with a variety of pursuits and volunteer activities, including as a dedicated volunteer with the Site Steward Program. Sherman was an early supporter of the Center and was one of the first Life members of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center.

The presentation of the award will be followed with an address by Matt Guebard, archaeologist for Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments. He will describe new discoveries and Native American traditional knowledge of the Montezuma Castle National Monument. With new testing at the Castle and oral stories of the Apache, a new view of the abandonment of the Castle has been proposed. New evidence suggests that the site was not simply evacuated by its inhabitants, as archaeologists have believed for more than 80 years. Instead, recent research shows that its final days were likely fraught with violent conflict and death — an account corroborated by Native American oral histories of the site’s collapse some 600 years ago.

All lecture programs of the Verde Valley Archaeology are free and open to the public. For more information on the lectures and other events of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center, visit their website at www.vvarchcenter.org or call the Center at 928-567-0066.

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