Local Resort Discovers Ancient Religious Ritual Grounds

In searching for a new wedding location on their 1200-acre grounds, the folks at The Boulders Resort in Carefree may have accidentally stumbled upon an ancient religious site. Managing Director Michael Hoffman found the small grouping of boulders and decided it was the perfect spot to build an outdoor wedding venue called "Promise Rock."

During the excavation process, local archaeologists and Native American experts from the Heard Museum were called in to identify strange markings found on a few of the rocks. "We don't know what it is," says PR representative Debora Bridges. "They pointed it out to us and said this was definitely used by the Native Americans as an altar." The research teams also found markings that align with the solstice on the boulder outcropping directly behind Promise Rock. 

And baby makes three...

​What inspired Hoffman to look for a new wedding site in the first place? Brides would often comment that the golf course was so lush and beautiful that they wanted their wedding to take place on the green. But as Hoffman points out, "golf balls and brides don't mix well!"

Instead, they opted to level the area Hoffman had chosen and landscape the small clearing with fresh green grass. Tons of dirt and rock were carted away to make room for wedding parties of up to 250 people on the grass lawn. Now brides can commune with the earth and have their golf green too. 

A unique cactus overlooking the spot has three stalks on one root: a taller one representing the male, a slightly smaller one for the female and a baby spire marking "the promise of the future." It's subtle, but if you've got a cheeky bride or a tipsy groom, they're sure to get a chuckle out of it.

​Back to the actual Promise Rock. No, that's not a petroglyph carved in the rock. Too bad, because a glyph that large and pronounced would've been a real find. It's actually a sculpture commissioned by the resort and created by former Phoenix artist Doug Weigel, whose works are featured at Latilla.

Usually with depictions of couples, the man is shown leading the woman, says Hoffman. "But because they're coming through this small crevice, we have the lady leading the man." Seems like the perfect analogy for a wedding. 

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Wynter Holden
Contact: Wynter Holden