Prehistoric Irrigation in Central Utah: More Than at First Glance

In 1928, Noel Morss was shown “Irrigation Ditches” along Pleasant Creek on the Dixie National Forest near Capitol Reef National Park, Utah by a local guide who contended they were ancient. For the purposes of this presentation, Dr. Simms moves beyond the reporting to some broader implications. Irrigation at Pleasant Creek between A.D. 1460-1636, supposedly after the termination of farming north of the Colorado River, serves as a mundane symbol of cultural continuity between the ancient and modern tribes. Less emphasis on bounded archaeological taxonomies, turning names into things, enables a more behaviorally realistic view where non-Puebloan peoples interacted with Ancestral Puebloan/Fremont peoples. A milieu of farmers in pueblos, villages, and hamlets among a diversity of lifeways and identities, the “fierce and indomitable” non-Puebloan peoples may have a long history in the Southwest.