Utah Unveils Untouched Ancient Indian Ruins The state of Utah reveals what had been a secret for 50 years: Hundreds of ancient Indian granaries, pit houses and rock art panels in a remote canyon. Archaeologists are ecstatic because the sites have not been looted or vandalized, a common fate for such sites. The area had been protected by rancher Waldo Wilcox, who once owned the land containing the ancient Indian villages. NPR's Howard Berkes reports.
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Utah Unveils Untouched Ancient Indian Ruins

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Utah Unveils Untouched Ancient Indian Ruins

Utah Unveils Untouched Ancient Indian Ruins

Rancher Safeguards Remote Site for 50 Years

Utah Unveils Untouched Ancient Indian Ruins

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/3076014/3081117" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Retired rancher Waldo Wilcox protected a treasure trove of ancient Indian artifacts, granaries and pit houses for 50 years, before selling his remote Utah ranch to the Trust for Public Land. Patrick Cone hide caption

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Patrick Cone

Pictographs carved by ancient Indians. Patrick Cone hide caption

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Patrick Cone

The state of Utah has exposed a secret that's been closely guarded for 50 years. Down in a remote canyon in the eastern part of the state, beyond a mountain pass 8,000 feet high and at the end of a two-hour, bone-jarring, dirt-road drive, lie hundreds of ancient Indian home and burial sites.

The area is unusual because it hasn't been looted and vandalized, a common fate for such sites elsewhere. For a half century, the area had been kept secret and protected by rancher Waldo Wilcox, who owned the land containing the ancient Indian villages. Wilcox has sold the land to the Trust for Public Land, and it is now owned and managed by the state of Utah.

The state, which unveiled the site Wednesday, is now figuring out how to protect the area while accommodating research and visitors. NPR's Howard Berkes reports.