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Nine Mile Canyon: The Archaeological History of an American Treasure PDF

256 Pages·2013·14.28 MB·English
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Nine Mile Canyon n i n e M i l e CAn yo n The Archaeological History of an American Treasure Jerry D. SpAngler The University of Utah Press Salt Lake City iii publication of this book made possible in part by a generous grant from the Bill Barrett Corporation. Copyright © 2013 by The University of Utah Press. All rights reserved. The Defiance House Man colophon is a registered trademark of the University of Utah Press. It is based on a four-foot-tall Ancient Puebloan pictograph (late PIII) near Glen Canyon, Utah. 17 16 15 14 13 1 2 3 4 5 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Spangler, Jerry D. Nine mile canyon : the archaeological history of an American treasure / Jerry D. Spangler. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. isbn 978-1-60781-226-5 (pbk. : alk. paper) isbn 978-1-60781-228-9 (ebook) 1. Indians of North America—Utah—Nine Mile Canyon—Antiquities. 2. Petroglyphs—Utah—Nine Mile Canyon. 3. Rock paintings—Utah— Nine Mile Canyon. 4. Nine Mile Canyon (Utah)—Antiquities. I. Title. E78.U55S63 2012 709.01'1309792566—dc23 2012031967 Printed in China. Contents list of Maps vi Acknowledgments vii introduction ix 1. John Wesley powell and the Conundrum of nine Mile Canyon 1 2. Artifacts, exhibits, and Utah’s First Archaeologists 17 3. Defining the Fremont Culture: noel Morss, Harvard University, 37 and the Claflin-emerson expedition 4. on the Fringe of Science: 61 Albert reagan and the para-archaeologists 5. A Higher Scientific Standard: The Arrival of John gillin 85 6. rock Art, Settlement patterns, and a Broader Understanding 115 of nine Mile Canyon 7. Current perspectives on the prehistory of nine Mile Canyon 145 references 177 index 187 list of Maps State map of Utah viii Tavaputs plateau with major drainages 4 West Tavaputs plateau and nine Mile Canyon 6 vi Acknowledgments This book was made possible through the generous contributions of count- less individuals: those who donated photographs, colleagues who offered insightful commentary along the way, and experts who shared their own unpublished research. And thank you to the many libraries and muse- ums that opened up their archives to me. In particular, I want to thank Dr. Steven LeBlanc and the Peabody Museum staff for their invaluable assistance over the years as I have perused their collections time and again, and who then generously contributed publication rights to their photo- graphs. And a special thanks to the talented lens-smith Ray Boren, who donated many of the Nine Mile Canyon photographs used here. And to my lovely and patient wife, Donna, my muse. vii viii introduction Your appointment made today. Salary $2,100 and railroad expenses. —George Thomas to John P. Gillin, 1935 The July 9, 1935, Western Union telegram confirming the appointment of John Phillip Gillin, “Jack” to his friends and colleagues, as “instructor” at the University of Utah’s Department of Anthropology and Sociology may have seemed emotionless and succinct (Thomas 1935d). In real- ity, it culminated weeks of animated correspondence between Gillin and George Thomas, the president of the University of Utah, who had person- ally and vigorously recruited Gillin to fill the lion-sized void left by the departure of anthropologist Julian H. Steward. There are few clues as to why a university president expended so much energy wooing Gillin when there were probably other candidates more experienced in the archaeol- ogy of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau. Gillin was, at the time, rel- atively unknown, a young man who hailed from a scholarly pedigree but other wise was unseasoned in the archaeology of Utah or the West. He had earned a doctorate from Harvard University the year before with a disser- tation titled “The Barama River Caribs of British Guiana” (Gillin 1934a)— hardly a topic of keen interest to most citizens of Utah. But as head-scratching as the appointment might have seemed to casual observers of university politics, it proved to have a profound impact on the history of Utah archaeology. During Gillin’s short tenure at the University of Utah—he abruptly resigned two years later to pursue his two real loves, sociology and anthropology—he investigated dozens of archaeological sites in almost every corner of the state, from St. George to Elsinore, from Tooele to Marysvale, from Ephraim to Delta (see Gillin 1941). But it was Gillin’s brief report of his excavations at Valley Village and Sky House in opposite, State map of Utah. Nine Mile Canyon (Gillin 1938) that firmly placed the young scholar in the pantheon of eminent researchers—Noel Morss, Donald Scott, and Julian Steward—who had earlier ventured into Nine Mile Canyon, only to Introduction ix

With an estimated 10,000 ancient rock art sites, Nine Mile Canyon has long captivated people the world over. The 45-mile-long canyon, dubbed the “World’s Longest Art Gallery,” hosts what is believed to be the largest concentration of rock art in North America. But rock art is only part of the
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