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| Michael Ghiglieri on: Ancient Civilization in the Canyon
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Michael Ghiglieri on: Ancient Civilization in the Canyon
Michael Ghiglieri Q: The evidence of ancient civilization and the presence of people trying to live in this environment - tell me a little bit about that and what he may have thought about, in terms of human habitation.

MG: The Pueblan ruins scattered down the southwestern canyons that were roughly a thousand years old and so on, were pretty stark evidence that a fairly successful civilization had existed, endured and then vanished. The big question, of course, was why did they vanish and the question that was also asked was, if people come here and try this again, if the west is to be settled, if the arid southwest is to become the extension of the eastern American frontier, what chance does it have. What dangers lurk in casting your lot in the southwest and hoping for it to bear fruit. I think Powell must have been very strongly impressed by difficulty, if not in some cases, the impossibility of settling certain parts of the west. And, this difficulty, if not impossibility, characterized the entire rest of his career, in terms of what he pushed for in terms of future revisions of the Homesteading Act and approaches to using stream basins as natural communally organized communities, and so on. All that was probably inspired to some degree, by these empty window holes and ruins of people who had come, flourished, and vanished. Powell is probably not immune to it and it may have been really important in in the future.

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