To the Mountains

After a full day of training and lectures, Joan and I headed to the nearby mountains to go to cooler temperatures and see places where maps, some oblique references in academic papers, and a hunch appeared intriguing.

We camped out that evening and planned to hike the following morning.

From the area we started the hike could see over mountain canyons, to some nearby landmarks and where we’d spend most of the day.

And though at a higher elevation, we found ourselves in High Desertlike terrain at times in this transitional zone.

Via a trail, we had the first hunch verified and found a cave displaying the 1920s or earlier ranching evidence, Ute, and Ancestral Pueblo use.

The cave, unfortunately, showed signs of a looting pit. But we saw tantalized what existed in this area at sone point.

Not far from the cave, we saw other signs of past inhabitants.

Some signs are more recent than others.

We walked along a well-defined social trail that led to another expansive site   And some local inhabitants.

We had no inklings of this site or info to go on. And it seemed the more inspiring for it.

As before, we saw evidence of both Ancestral Pueblo and Ute inhabitation.

More remote in the past,  these mountains and canyons provided shelter for the Ute in particular during a turbulent era.

Post-Columbian horses

Through the camera’s zoom lens, we could see other places in the distance. We’ll need to come back when the weather gets cooler, when we can backpack and wander further into this fascinating area.

I later learned that this site is ground-zero for an infamous case that involved DNA evidence from looters back in 1995. Curious readers can know more about this case, and other aspects of the worldwide archeological looting ring, in Finders Keepers by Craig Childs. An excellent read and one I suggest to anyone with more interest in this topic.

It’s unfortunate that the wealthy, who end up as the primary market, seems largely immune from prosecution due to the private property loophole that easily gets exploited with suspect provenance. 

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