The Canyon Dwellers on “They Were Preppers”
By: Robert C. Euler
Host: Doug “GoatHollow”
That the Grand Canyon is one of the most significant geological records on the face of the earth has been recognized for well over a century. What has not generally been realized is that its spectacular depths also document an intriguing chapter in the prehistory of man in America.
Although Major John Wesley Powell sighted Indian ruins during his exploration of the Colorado canyons in 1869, it was not suspected until recently that human occupation of the Grand Canyon ever could have been more than a comparatively brief experience, a footnote to the story of prehistoric man in the Southwest.
In the 1950’s, Dr. Walter Taylor became the first professional archaeologist to conduct a reconnaissance along the Colorado River through the entire Canyon, and his discoveries, coupled with the later findings of Dr. Douglas Schwartz, provided the first important clues to the antiquity of occupation and its remarkable extent. While this work left much to be done, it inevitably inspired curiosity as to what further secrets the Canyon might hold.
Beginning in 1960, the author participated in a series of expeditions, the first two being ten-day. 312-miles boat trips down the Colorado from Lees Ferry to Temple Bar on Lake Mead – trips which added some thirty-two sites to the known record. Still, much remained unknown; exactly how much, we would soon learn.
In the summer of 1963, the Arizona Power Authority, whose engineers were then doing some feasibility studies at the Marble Canyon dam site, loaned one of their helicopters to us. The two-week aerial reconnaissance that followed convinced on beyond doubt that this was the most logical technique of exploration. Not only could a vast area be examined, but the aerial observer could locate the pattern of ruins that might easily be missed by the investigator on foot – and landings usually could be made at or near discovered ruins in order to make collections and records.
After we had made one more boat trip in the summer of 1965, Prescott College sponsored a research proposal (paid for by the National Science Foundation) that enabled us to plan and execute a truly major aerial reconnaissance of the Grand Canyon in 1966. In a little over two months, after fifty-five hour in our supercharged helicopter and many more on the ground, we located an astonishing total of 250 ruins, at least 200 of which were new to scientific record. The continuing ayalysis of the thousands of speciments obtained during this expedition has made possible the description that follows – the Story of the Canyon dwellers.
This story read by Doug aka “GoatHollow” Follow Goat Hollow Here!
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