Utah’s Abandoned History, A Cautionary Tale

An interesting diary up on DailyKos observes the successful campaign of developers in Utah to eliminate the state’s archeologists and anthropologists so no one would notice when Utah’s heritage and history gets bulldozed.

Rood, along with state archaeologist Kevin Jones and physical anthropologist Derinna Kopp, who also lost their jobs Tuesday, stepped into the view of Gov. Gary Herbert, lawmakers and the Utah Transit Authority in recent years when they raised concerns about a proposed commuter rail station planned in Draper. UTA proposed the train stop and mixed-use development on the footprint of an ancient American Indian village, the earliest known location of corn farming in the Great Basin. – DailyKos

Imagine if someone wanted to bulldoze the oldest known site of tobacco farming in Virginia, and you get the level of significance involved in this story. The entire diary is worth reading for the whole tale of government-official interventions, vulgar namecalling, and abandoned skeletons. I’m not kidding, abandoned human skeletons.

Thankfully, I believe that most developers here in Virginia and Loudoun are a bit more respectful of our archeological history. Indeed, many recent developments have specifically included proffers for preservation of local history, though the actual carry-through on those promises has been hit or miss. That being said, Utah’s experience, in which a developer actually wrote the bill eliminating the positions responsible for conserving Utah’s physical history, can and should serve as a cautionary tale reminding us that we must remain vigilant in the protection of our history.

2 thoughts on “Utah’s Abandoned History, A Cautionary Tale

  1. Ann

    You are exaggerating, Midshipman. There are pitfalls involved with letting any special interest write development laws.

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