American archaeologists have again found remains in the reconstruction of the Nine Mile Canyon Road (United States). Through extraction, analysis and sieving, they have found small objects of what was previously a half-buried house of the Fremont Indians.
Montgomery Archeology Consultants Inc., project leader and principal investigator, Jody Patterson, comments that “rarely” they can dig into the canyon and highly values the fact that “be able to look and dig places like this”, In order to discover things that they did not know they expected to find, as is the case with the recent discovery.
The half-buried house what the patterson team is digging It is the first of its kind to be found in Nine Mile Canyon. It is also the first to have been found with the ceiling burned, which, according to the researcher, means that the site could offer «a snapshot of everyday life«, Once everything has been fully analyzed.
The structure was discovered during the Nine Mile road works. Work was stopped as soon as remains of the site were found and will not resume until the entire area has been documented and processed. This is not the first time that has happened, since since they began the reconstruction of the Nine Mile Canyon Road, they have had similar events a dozen times.
Engineer Curtis Page relates: «Protocols were put in place to take care of the conservation of the remains, so that while we made the road, nothing was lost and, at the same time, we could learn and protect what we found”.
Through a large collaborative deployment, Carbon and Duchesne County authorities, as well as engineers and workers have been trained to identify possible sites with archaeological potential. Page explains how for years they have known that they had “to do something” with the road and how they tried to make the most of the resources available to them.
The main concern engineers have had has been flooding. In 2008, unforeseen overflows severely damaged the road surface. The project engineers and hydrologists have studied the problem and reconfigured the profile of the road to avoid being «a channel that carries the water«Said Page. They have also increased the number of culverts from 50 to 250 and built 24 concrete water crossings. The engineer is confident that when everything is done, the road will be much easier to maintain: «We will have a road that will be much easier for the counties to take care of and much safer to be traveled by the public«.
The nine mile cannon has been baptized as «the largest art gallery in the world”. Its rugged walls are home to at least 1,000 rock art sites, containing more than 10,000 individual images dating back to the Fremont Indians. There are also Native American homes and barns, as well as ranches built by the area's early pioneers. According to Patterson, the canyon contains a continuous record of human occupation from the Archaic period to the present day and that is why it attracts so much tourism.
But not only has it attracted the curiosity of those interested in history and archeology. It has abundant natural gas reserves that are accessible from the upper plateaus and that have attracted the attention of energy experts. In 2010, Bill Barrett Corp. obtained federal authorization to drill more than 600 wells on the plateau. As part of the approval process, the company agreed to contribute $ 10 million, which will be used to rebuild the road and protect archaeological sites.
The estimate is that, so far, $ 10 million has been spent on the project. 10% has been invested in surveillance and cannon conservationas well as in the suppression of dust and gravel, which can damage the delicate rock art.
The road work is expected to be completed in December, but Patterson believes that the discoveries that have occurred in the process will continue to shed light on the canyon's past for years to come: «We are getting a lot of new information that is going to open a new chapter on what happened in the canyon, as to how the Fremont Indians and other groups lived here«.
Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.