Gardiner Dalley and Roger McPeek at an Excavation Site | Photo Credit: Karen L Monsen
Dennis Peterson, Director of Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center in Oklahoma, notes, “Without context, artifacts are like ghosts of their previous selves.” Southern Utah archaeologist Greg Woodall agrees. He says, “Context for artifacts is very important to archaeological studies. An artifact taken from a site loses its context and is then just a shiny object.” Archaeologists often must race to capture site data prior to destruction by road cuts and development.
| VIEW ON MAGAZINE | Nov/Dec 2021
Utah has a history of archaeological looting, vandalism, and orphaned artifacts. The Utah State Division of History says, “Every day, visitors to Utah’s outdoor wonderland take home pieces of our past, such as arrowheads and pottery. Leaving artifacts in place and respecting archaeological sites ensures that these sites stay with us for thousands of years to come.” For more information, visit the Utah Public Archaeology Network: https://history.utah.gov/ shpo/upan/stop-archaeological-vandalism/.