Oct 212011

By Linda Kor–

Efforts to identify and record the pre-historic and historic aspects of Holbrook’s Petroglyph Park are underway, according to Joe Winfield, landscape architect with the National Park Service.

In an Oct. 15 meeting at the park, which is located near Hidden Cove Golf Course, researchers and archaeologists met to walk the park and the ruins of the nearby Zuck Ranch in order to better understand the scope of the project.

“The meeting was to help us get a better idea of the cultural resources of the site and what impacts development might have on the area,” explained Winfield. The developments indicated by Winfield include a potential parking lot, trails, locations of restrooms and the ways to minimize disruption to the area.

At the nearby Zuck Ranch there is evidence of water catchments, a windmill, stone structures, corrals and several foundations. Other than that, not much remains besides glass fragments dating to the late 19th century, as well as some bullet casings. “The (historical society) has been researching on this for some time and there’s really very little information on the ranch. In the rocks near the ranch you can see where some of the cowboys that probably worked there carved their names with the dates in the late 1890s, so that’s probably when the ranch was in full operation,” stated Mike O’Dell, a city employee involved in the project. With evidence of the windmill and the water catchments, as well as the numerous petroglyphs in the vicinity, Winfield pointed out that the common thread to all the findings is water.

A gate has been put up at the entrance to the site in order to provide some protection while the studies are being done.

“There are some significant cultural findings here, and this is an attempt to limit access until a management plan is in place and a decision is made by the city on how they want to handle the park,” stated Winfield.

Darlene Brinkerhoff, an expert in the field of identifying rock art, is taking pictures of the petroglyphs and recording the information for historic record.

“There is already some environmental degradation taking place, and this will give us a baseline point of reference,” explained Winfield. In addition, recording the site will provide reference for the city when determining if visitors should be allowed to tour the site on their own or if a guide would be better in order to preserve the site. There has already been some vandalism of the petroglyphs in the park and if more should occur, guides may be needed to ensure the preservation of the site. Winfield and O’Dell will soon be making a record of the ranch area in a similar fashion, with the information to be forwarded to the Arizona Historic Preservation Office.

Another endeavor that will be taking place is nominating the site to the National Register of Historic Places. This will give the site some additional recognition and at least the perception of being protected. The volunteer committee working to preserve and protect the park will be holding another meeting in the near future, with the date to be announced in The Tribune-News when it has been determined.

Photo by Mike O’Dell

A group interested in the preservation and promotion of Holbrook’s Petroglyph Park met at the park to observe the various cultural resources a the site. Those on hand included (left to right) Bill Reitze, archaeologist for the Petrified Forest National Park, David Jacobs, archaeologist for the State Historic Preservation Office, Joe Winfield, landscape architect for the National Park Service, Julia Sittig, an intern assisting in the endeavor, and Darlene Brinkerhoff of Holbrook, a recognized rock art expert.