Field Mice Needed
November 2, 2010 12:36 AM Subscribe
posted by 2N2222 (6 comments total)
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Old school hardware hacker, Postscript enthusiast, electronics writer, woo debunker, all around geek, and now amateur archaeologist Don Lancaster
) needs you. And maybe some of your nerdy gadgets.
Among the things to pique Lancaster's interest these days are the curious collection of earthen paths meandering around the bajadas in the desert near Safford, Arizona. Looking more and more to be a surprisingly sophisticated system of prehistoric waterways
, these "hanging canals
" (pdf here
) (pdf with more pictures here
) seem to be part of a clever prehistoric irrigation system, diverting waters from nearby mountain streams to destinations still unknown, using carefully graded paths. Up to thirty miles worth! Largely neglected and/or obscured by modern constructions, it seems possible that some may have been repurposed and maintained in historic times by settlers, and may have even been used to supply a (now derelict) recreational reservoir
without knowing who made the canals in the first place.
The area is not a stranger to prehistoric agricultural artifacts
. (more: pdf
). But the extent and sophistication of the canals seems a fairly new discovery. Many mysteries remain. Lancaster is seeking volunteers to help identify and record new hanging canals. Drop him a line, especially if you've got a really accurate altimeter. Or a decent UAV