The lost world of the Old Ones Discoveries in the ancient Southwest

David Roberts, 1943-

Book - 2015

"An award-winning author and veteran mountain climber takes us deep into the Southwest backcountry to uncover secrets of its ancient inhabitants. In The Lost World of the Old Ones, David Roberts expands and updates the research from his 1996 classic, In Search of the Old Ones. As he elucidates startling archaeological breakthroughs, Roberts also recounts his past twenty years of far-flung exploits in search of spectacular prehistoric ruins and rock-art panels known to very few modern travel...ers. His adventures range across Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado and illuminate the mysteries of the Ancestral Puebloans and their contemporary neighbors the Mogollon and Fremont, as well as of the more recent Navajo and Comanche. Roberts uses his climbing and exploratory know-how to reach the remote sanctuaries of the Old Ones hidden high on nearly vertical cliffs, many of which are unknown to archaeologists and park rangers. As a passionate advocate for an experiential encounter with history, Roberts mixes the findings of experts with personal explorations to raise questions that archaeologists have yet to address"--Provided by publisher.

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Subjects
Published
New York : W.W. Norton & Company [2015]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
337 pages : illustrations (some color), map ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 309-314) and index.
ISBN
9780393241624
0393241629
Main Author
David Roberts, 1943- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Roberts expands and updates his In Search of the Old Ones (1996), which has become a "minor cult classic" among amateur archaeologists exploring the prehistoric ruins of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and southwest Colorado. In recounting his treks over the past 20 years, Roberts addresses debates both academic, such as whether the Fremont culture of Pueblo Indians in central Utah should be included with Anasazi communities further south, and moral, such as whether discovered objects, including baskets and pottery shards, should be left in place or removed and incorporated into museum collections. In the company of fellow adventurers, archaeologists, and native guides, Roberts explores Range Creek, a tributary of Utah's Green River, and finds granaries left by the ancient Fremont Puebloans; Fortress Rock, near Canyon de Chelly, where a band of Navajos hid for four and a half years to escape the Long Walk to Bosque Redondo in 1863; and the little-­explored, nearly inaccessible Kaiparowits Plateau, now part of the Grand Staircase–­Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Roberts' captivating retelling of these and other exploits in search of the Southwest's ancient history has the pull and excitement of a suspense novel and appeals to a wide range of readers interested in this region's deep past and great beauty. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Roberts (In Search of the Old Ones) returns to the American Southwest, bringing his experiences as a climber, traveler, and writer to the history of the Pueblo and Navajo peoples. Readers will follow the author into canyon country, hiking through pinyon-juniper stretches and scaling hidden alcoves. The text discusses important issues in anthropology, including archaeological preservation, the relationships of the natives to the historical landscape, and the complicated tensions between archaeologists and natives. Serious students of history and archaeology may glaze over the episodic adventurism, but the work succeeds in popularizing the often overly technical or inaccessible archaeological literature. Readers who are more interested in history than hiking may prefer Stephen Lekson's History of the Ancient Southwest. Nevertheless, Roberts has done his homework, and the book serves as an excellent literature review of Southwestern archaeology. In addition to examining common questions (e.g., Where did the Four Corners people go after the 13th century?), Roberts delves into less-charted territory, lending time to the Fremont culture and the Navajo leader Hoskinini. VERDICT Part history, part memoir, part excursion, this work is a great companion for scholar-adventurers.—Jeffrey Meyer, Mt. Pleasant P.L., IA [Page 100]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

This rather puzzling book, a sequel of sorts to In Search of the Old Ones (1996), is a detailed guide to the archaeology of the American Southwest, particularly the areas inhabited by the Anasazi, or (in what Roberts terms "p.c." parlance) "Ancestral Puebloans." Roberts, a mountaineer and amateur archaeologist, received both praise and criticism for his earlier work, notably for the amount of attention it drew from visitors to Utah's Cedar Mesa site. In this followup, Roberts states that his goal is to offer readers an account of the most exciting and revealing research that has been produced about the region in the past 20 years—but instead he includes only long-winded anecdotes about his fellow climbers, archaeologists, and colorful local characters. The book is awkwardly situated among the genres of travelogue, adventure story, and scholarly monograph; it is insufficiently dramatic to satisfy on the first two counts, and the lack of footnotes undermines its success on the third. Puzzlingly, the book's illustrations include neither maps nor photos of artifacts, such as the Telluride blanket, to whose discovery and interpretation Roberts devotes an entire chapter. Roberts's love for the Southwest and its precolonial cultures emerges clearly, but his execution in producing this book is far less successful. (May) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An award-winning author and veteran mountain climber takes readers deep into the Southwest backcountry to uncover secrets of its ancient inhabitants. Illustrations. Tour.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Draws on recent archaeological discoveries and the author's travels into the backcountry to uncover secrets of the ancestral Puebloans, while considering such topics as the preservation of antiquities and the relationship of natives to their landscape.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"An award-winning author and veteran mountain climber takes us deep into the Southwest backcountry to uncover secrets of its ancient inhabitants. In The Lost World of the Old Ones, Roberts continues the hunt for answers begun in his classic book, In Search of the Old Ones. As he elucidates startling archaeological breakthroughs, Roberts also recounts his last twenty years of far-flung exploits in search of spectacular prehistoric ruins and rock-art panels known to very few modern travelers. His adventures range across Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado illuminating the mysteries of the Old Ones as well as of the more recent Navajo and Comanche. Roberts calls on his climbing and exploratory expertise to reach the remote sanctuaries of the ancients hidden within nearly vertical cliffs, many of which are unknown to archaeologists and park rangers. As a passionate advocate for an experiential encounter with history, Roberts mixes the findings of experts with personal explorations to raise questions that archaeologists have yet to address"--Provided by publisher.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Roberts journeys to the American Southwest, exploring ancient sites such as Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, and Bandelier National Monument. He shares his adventures along the way, as well his in-depth knowledge of the culture and history of the Ancestral Puebloans, the people who occupied these sites over 1000 years ago. Chapter titles include Cedar Mesa Revisited, Chaco Meridian, Wandering the Rez, Exploring the Fifty, and Return to the Basket. The book contains photographs and and several color plates. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Review by Publisher Summary 5

An award-winning author and veteran mountain climber takes us deep intothe Southwest backcountry to uncover secrets of its ancient inhabitants.

Review by Publisher Summary 6

For more than 5,000 years the Ancestral Puebloans—Native Americans who flourished long before the first contact with Europeans—occupied the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. Just before AD 1300, they abandoned their homeland in a migration that remains one of prehistory's greatest puzzles. Northern and southern neighbors of the Ancestral Puebloans, the Fremont and Mogollon likewise flourished for millennia before migrating or disappearing. Fortunately, the Old Ones, as some of their present-day descendants call them, left behind awe-inspiring ruins, dazzling rock art, and sophisticated artifacts ranging from painted pots to woven baskets. Some of their sites and relics had been seen by no one during the 700 years before David Roberts and his companions rediscovered them.The Lost World of the Old OnesIn Search of the Old OnesRoberts calls on his climbing and exploratory expertise to reach remote sanctuaries of the ancients hidden within nearly vertical cliffs, many of which are unknown to archaeologists and park rangers. This ongoing quest combines the shock of new discovery with a deeply felt connection to the landscape, and it will change the way readers experience, and imagine, the American Southwest.