Utah Unveils Untouched Ancient Indian Ruins

Rancher Safeguards Remote Site for 50 Years

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Rancher Waldo Wilcox

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

itoggle caption Patrick Cone
Carvings left by ancient Indians.

Pictographs carved by ancient Indians. Patrick Cone hide caption

itoggle caption 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.



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