© 2008 Julian Smith
Some shots from my recent trip
down to the bottom of the big ditch for Archaeology magazine. the dig is part
of the biggest series of excavations in the canyon in 40 years.
It's amazing that people once lived there by the hundreds, a thousand or so years ago. But it makes more sense when you realize that the canyon offers vastly different ecosystems basically right on top of each other: from pinyon-juniper woodlands on the rim, at over 7,000 feet, to full-on cactus-studded desert at the bottom (a little over 4,000 feet elevation)...but with a big fat river right there.
With such a variety of food sources and agricultural growing seasons available from rim to river, the canyon doesn't seem all that inhospitable any more.