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Protecting the Past – Act Responsibly

ruin on cedar mesaA ruin on Cedar Mesa

People love Utah’s archaeology, and no wonder. It’s spectacular, cool, intriguing, and evocative. But sometimes visitors unintentionally damage the sites they love.  Here’s how to both see them and protect them:

Don’t disturb anything! 

If you find an interesting artifact, you can examine it, draw it, or photograph it, but it’s vital that you put it back in the same spot you found it.

Watch your step.

Stay on established trails or paths. Be careful not to step on artifacts or middens (ancient trash pits that may look like dark stains in the soil).

Keep away from walls.

Don’t lean, stand, or sit on them. Heck, don’t even walk too close, because traffic near walls can undermine them and hasten their collapse.

Don’t toss it!

Modern trash can contaminate the soil of an archaeological site, so don’t even throw away an apple core, banana peel, or cigarette. Besides, food attracts critters, and they can damage a site by digging or nesting.

Keep Fido out.

Pets can harm sites too! Never let a pet wander through an archaeological site.

Report artifacts.

If you find a cool artifact, draw or photograph it, and map its location as exactly as you can. Then tell a park ranger, BLM office, or State History – 801-245-7241.