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Rancher kept major Indian sites hidden for decades

A Utah rancher stumbled on a series of 1,000-year-old Indian villages on his family's land in the 1940s but kept them secret in order to protect what archaeologists are now calling a significant find.

Rancher Waldo Wilcox said he knew at the time that the sites had to be preserved. His family put up fences to keep outsiders and the "hippies" out.

Archaeologists say the stubbornness paid off. The villages are in excellent condition and they have never been looted. But tribes say they have been kept out of the loop even as the site was being explored for the past couple of years.

Several tribes, including the Skull Valley Goshutes of Utah, the Hopi of Arizona, and Ute tribes in Utah, say they have a connection to the site but only found out about it recently. The state says it hasn't consulted with tribes yet because nothing has been excavated and no remains are being disturbed.

With $2.5 million in federal funds, the state of Utah has purchased the 4,000-acre ranch, which is next to land under study for a wilderness area. State and federal officials will work on a plan to preserve the site and allow public access.

Get the Story:
Tribes say Range Creek decisions exclude them (The Salt Lake Tribune 7/1)
Photo Gallery (The Salt Lake Tribune 7/1)
Archaeologist's dream (The Denver Post 7/1)
Secret ruins unveiled in Utah canyon (AP 7/1)
Archaeological bonanza creates a dilemma: How to protect it? (The Salt Lake Tribune 7/1)
The Treasure Of Range Creek (The Washington Post 7/1)
Long Secret, Ruins of an Ancient Civilization Are Revealed in Utah (The New York Times 7/1)
Site Could Yield Clues to Indian Mystery (The Los Angeles Times 7/1)

Related Stories:
Utah buys ranch containing thousands of sites (06/25)