When white settlers arrived in the Camp Verde area to establish farms, they discovered the remains of ancient cultures. Spread generously across the valley floor, surrounding hills, and the occasional cliff face, were stone pueblos in various states of ruin. The sight of these buildings and associated artifacts amazed and perplexed the newcomers, and ultimately lured a number of military and government-funded scientists to the valley to try and solve the riddle of who had left such and indelible mark on the landscape.
Over the subsequent decades, archaeologists have worked to unravel the story of at least two different cultures. The Hohokam culture came first, presumably from the south, followed by the Sinagua, presumably from the north. By all indications the two cultures thrived here for about 1,200 to 1,500 years before disappearing around 1425 AD for reasons still not fully understood.
Three cultural sites--Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well and Tuzigoot--are now National Monuments, protected and interpreted by the National Park Service.
Three other sites, the petroglyph walls at V Bar V Heritage Site and the cliff houses of Honanki and Wapatki, are protected and interpreted by the United States Forest Service. But hundreds of major and minor sites lay about the landscape, unprotected, across the vast majority in the Camp Verde area.