Katchina Daisy

The Cedar Mesa Project

A Brief Cultural and Natural History of the Cedar Mesa Area

Return to The Cedar Mesa Project Home Page.

"Aridity, more than anything else, gives the western landscape its character. It is aridity that gives the air its special dry clarity; aridity that puts brilliance in the light and polishes and enlarges the stars; aridity that leads the grasses to evolve as bunches rather than turf; aridity that exposes the pigmentation of the raw earth and limits, almost eliminates, the color of chlorophyll; aridity that erodes the earth in cliffs and badlands rather than in softened and vegetated slopes."
Stegner, Wallace, Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs, Wing Books, New York, 1992. p.46.

What grows here, what animals are able to survive on the sparse plants and little water the majority of the year; what are the ages of the rock, who were the inhabitants that left their walled structures in alcoves and scatters of broken pottery, and who left their names on the alcove walls in the late 1800s?

The information included in this section is just a beginning. May it awaken your interest about the cultural or natural history, enhancing your respect for the land and the history of the Cedar Mesa area. The bibliographies provided will give you places to find more in-depth information.

The Cedar Mesa area in Southeast Utah is a high, dry climate. The geology of the area is a plateau with many narrow canyons or arroyos. The fauna includes two threatened species, bald eagles, and American peregrine falcons. The area's flora is typically pinon-juniper woodland and desert shrub. This area has been populated by Native Americans from as long ago as 6500 B.C.

Many of their cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, and pictographs still remain - but remain in a fragile condition.

See "Some Perspectives on Archaeological Collection" for a detailed discussion of the challenges and opportunites facing the person who wishes to learn much more about some of the basic concepts and definitions the archeologist uses in studying this rich cultural historical record.

The white man's first contacts with this area were in the late 1800's when early explorers began to collect artifacts and send them to museums and buyers in Chicago and New York.

The area has a number of unique words and names; see the lexicon to get started.

Links available for Cultural and Natural History:

Return to Cedar Mesa home page.

"All evidence suggests that tourism is the greatest single threat to the archaeological resources of the Colorado Plateau."
Rick Moore, Grand Canyon Trust.

URL of this page: http://bcn.boulder.co.us/environment/cacv/'CACVAREA.HTM'
World Wide Web page by SCCS.