It began in 1937, when rancher Tom Kenney decided to build an outhouse and started digging into the soft earth of Battlement Mesa. Kenney changed goals when he struck an impermeable layer of rock, which, on closer inspection, looked like a tiled floor buried under 10 feet of boulders and clay. Instead of an outhouse, Kenney decided he would have a tiled root cellar.
His curiosity aroused, though, Kenney summoned some Grand Valley experts to look at his tiled floor. A delegation examined the floor and decided, according to The Daily Sentinel of May 3, 1937, that there was “not the slightest doubt but that the work is of some prehistoric civilization.”
So compelling was the floor that Denver archaeologists went to visit. They concluded the tiles were laid somewhere between 25,000 and 80,000 years earlier.
To learn more, the Denver archaeologists approached the Archaeological Society of London, which sent an Egyptologist, who pronounced the floor a geological phenomenon.
And there, for the next seven decades, the matter stood, with adherents on both sides, until the Western Investigations Team took on the mystery.