Friday, March 26, 2010

Range Creek

Hidden in the wild Book Cliffs of eastern Utah between the Tavaputs Plateau and the Green River's Desolation Canyon, Range Creek valley had no road access at all as late as the mid 20th century. A primitive road was built in 1947 to open up the canyon to cattle grazing. A few years later, a ranching family named Wilcox, long time residents of a nearby ranch, bought the valley to expand their cattle operation. It didn't take long for the new owners to notice the remote valley held an incredible concentration of ruins, artifacts, intact structures and other evidence that an ancient culture had long called the place home.

Until recently, Range Creek was private property. The state of Utah purchased the area and limited access is now available. Don't visit Range Creek expecting to find easily accessible or impressive large-scale ruins like in other sites. Mostly what it offers is pit villages barely noticeable to the untrained eye, pictographs, and granaries built on inaccessible cliff walls. One thing that makes Range Creek so valuable is the fact that there's no hurry to excavate before the bulldozers come through. If you visit, PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB any artifacts! Once disturbed, that area loses its ability to tell archeologists the stories of the Freemonts who lived here nearly 1,000 years ago.


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