Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month 2021

Welcome to Utah’s Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month! Every year the Utah State Historic Preservation Office rounds up the very best events so that YOU can get to know the prehistory and history of our state! Check out our Event Calendar for the full listing of our events, but here on this page we have some highlights from our office and our fantastic partners.

We love the past, and we love that this year we get to bring it to you through a variety of online and in-person events. For many in-person events, you may see that registration is limited, and that is for public health. We also strongly recommend that participants in in-person events wear appropriate face masks and practice social distancing.

And of course, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube to get information on all these events, and connect with your pals at the SHPO. We can’t wait to see you, whether that be online or in-person!

Alright, now on to the events!

Saturday May 1 @1pm (in-person)

Join Dr. Chris Merritt on a walking tour of the core of historic Fort Douglas National Historic Landmark, and discuss the post change over time and its archaeology.

This hour-long walk around the Fort Douglas grounds, on the campus of the University of Utah, will highlight not only the history of the Fort, but the recent excavations conducted by SWCA Environmental Consultants and the Utah State Historic Preservation Office (Utah SHPO). Dr. Merritt is an expert in historical-era archaeological sites, and has directed excavations and screening for artifacts at the Fort for many years.

If you love military history, or just need to stretch your legs in the sunshine, you won’t want to miss this! Space is limited, CLICK HERE to reserve your spot.

Brown Bag Lecture: Graffiti Bustin’

Wednesday May 5, 2021 (online)

The Wasatch Graffiti Busters are a volunteer organization that is working to keep our public spaces – especially our natural and historic places – free of vandalism and other damage.

Join us in this special one-hour, lunchtime Zoom event as the core members discuss their efforts to keep Little Cottonwood and the Black Rock clean of graffiti, with a broad overview of their efforts. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired enough to join them!

Join us on Zoom, and pre-register for the event when you CLICK HERE.

Reconstructing the Preservation Movement

Thursday, May 6 @6pm (online)

The world has changed greatly since the American preservation movement formally began with Ann Pamela Cunningham saving George Washington’s Mt.Vernon in 1853. As preservationists we are taught to learn from the past, but in our effort to preserve it have we forgotten to also look forward? Reflecting on how the preservation movement began Sarah Marsom will showcase examples of where it is going and help us conceptualize how preservation can be reconstructed to become a movement of, by, and for all. Let’s expand our toolkit, our understanding of who is a preservationist, and empower each other for the future of our communities!

To join us on Zoom for this event CLICK HERE to register and receive reminders, updates, and a follow-up email with bonus information!

The Crisis Campus: The University of Utah After World War II

Wednesday, May 12 @noon (online)

It’s no overstatement to say that, in the years immediately following World War II, the University of Utah was in a state of crisis. With enrollment growth off the charts, university administrators scrambled to find new space for classes and offices and research. “The U’s Critical Years” looks at this extraordinary period in which their resourcefulness—and a fortuitous opportunity—resolved the crisis and laid the foundation for an entirely new campus.

To join us on Zoom for this event CLICK HERE to register and receive reminders, updates, and a follow-up email with bonus information!

A Look at Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Programs & Projects

Wednesday, May 19 @noon (online)

Utah SHPO’s very own Amber Anderson helps people transform historic places through tax credits that encourage their creative reuse!

Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits can be a great resource for enabling preservation of the built environment. Whether it’s in the freshening up of historic apartment buildings for continued residential use or the transformation of warehouses or mills into modern offices or multipurpose retail and recreational spaces, these programs encourage creative thinking in order to maintain the historic character of a building while allowing for its continued use into the future. This lecture discusses what these programs offer and looks at a variety of case studies highlighting the types of projects that make use of them.

To join us on Zoom, CLICK HERE to register and receive reminders, updates, and a follow-up email with bonus information!

Archaeology of Saltair Walking Tour

Saturday, May 22 @1pm (in-person)

Join archaeologist Dr. Chris Merritt from the Utah Division of State History for a walking tour of the archaeological remains of the old Saltair Resort. Learn about the history of the site, management of the Great Salt Lake and cultural resources, and the archaeological legacy that still remains out there and threats posed by looting. Built in 1893 as the “Coney Island of the West”, the Saltair Resort was hugely popular through the 1930s, though it faced many threats including receding water levels and fire. Participants must be able to walk on uneven terrain for three miles, and must be over 18 years of age unless accompanied by a responsible adult. 

May can provide a wide range of weather, so be prepared for wind, rain, heat, and of course bugs. Good hiking shoes, a hat, and lots of water are a must. And not a bad idea to bring some bug spray! You can bring a lunch if you want and stay out on the Lake to enjoy the serene beauty of our Inland Sea. 

Space is limited, so CLICK HERE to register on EventBrite and reserve your spot!

Brown Bag Lecture: Archaeology and Preservation of Utah’s Military Installations

Wednesday, May 26 at noon

Utah is home to lots of historic properties, from early Paleoindian campsites to Cold War military infrastructure. Getting to these places can be difficult at best! Archaeologists Maia London and Anya Kitterman have offered to take us behind the scenes (over Zoom!) to experience the range of archaeological sites and historic places on lands and campuses owned and managed by the Department of Defense.

CLICK HERE to register for the event! Registration will provide you with reminders, and also follow-up communication with bonus materials.

Historic Preservation in Utah

If you are interested in the history of the Preservation Movement in Utah (and if you’ve read this far down the page, I assume you are!) then you won’t want to miss this! Hosted by the Utah SHPO’s very own Steve Cornell, this hour-long Zoom presentation will give you the low-down on the history and current state of historic preservation.

Register in advance by going to

The Avondale Burial Place and the African American Burial Grounds Network

Thursday, May 27 at 6pm (online)

Join Dr. Joe Joseph as he discusses the African Burial Ground Network Bill in Congress, and efforts to preserve Black history.

Undocumented African American burials are threatened, and unfortunately sometimes developed and lost, because our nation has failed to recognize these spaces. Living in impoverished conditions, facing legal and financial restrictions from purchasing lands for burial as well as burial markers, African American burial grounds were frequently placed on lands belonging to others and impermenently marked. In the South, the Great Migration led many African Americans to relocate to northern and Midwestern industrial cities, severing the links between social memory and burial spaces. This presentation will include viewing of a video documentary on the Avondale Burial Place in Georgia, followed by a discussion of efforts to create an African American Burial Grounds Network Act in the U.S. Congress to provide descendants with the resources needed to recognize, protect, restore and maintain these lost landmarks of the African American past.

Register now for this event at

Mammoth Hunt!

Saturday, May 29 at 10a (in-person)

Outside the Visitor’s Center at Wasatch Mountain State Park you can learn how to throw prehistoric spears to take down prey like wooly mammoths. Join Public Archaeologist Elizabeth Hora for this hands on (and hand sanitizer on!) demonstration.

Learning to throw an atlatl is free, but admission to Wasatch State Park is required. We will be teaching kids of all ages how to throw spears between 10a and 1p, feel free to come and go as you please!

~No late Pleistocene megafauna will be hurt during this event.~

This is not a ticketed event, but if you want to let us know you’re coming then please CLICK HERE to receive updates and reminders.

Partner events

All across the state our partners are putting on some fantastic programs of their own! Here are some events that we love, and think you will love too! For a full listing of events as well as how to register, please visit our Event Calendar.

Danger Cave State Monument Archaeological Tours

Join professional archaeologist Ronald Rood for a tour of Danger Cave and Juke Box Cave.  Danger Cave has been designated as Utah’s first State Monument and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is listed as a National Historic Landmark.  Archaeological data from Danger Cave demonstrates indigenous people used this cave as a home repeatedly for more than 12,000 years.  Nearby Juke Box Cave has a similar archaeological history and was used prior to WW II by the Army Air Corps training at Wendover.  You can see historic period Native American rock art in Juke Box Cave along with a cement Dance Floor used by the Army Air Corps. 
This tour will focus on the archaeology of the Great Basin and how these two sites, and the surrounding environments were used by pre-contact indigenous people for thousands of years prior to Euroamerican settlement.  We’ll talk about the science of archaeology, what archaeology can teach us about the past, we’ll examine real and replica artifacts and you can try your hand at using an atlatl.  For more information go to
Space is limited and reservations are required.  We are limiting each tour to a maximum of 12 people until further notice.  To reserve a spot, email Ron  at with DANGER CAVE in the subject line.  Covid protocols will be in place during these tours so social distancing and masks are required.  Masks are important as both caves can become very dusty during tours.  Once your reservation has been made, we’ll send you details on the meeting place, and required forms.  You must provide your own transportation.  
It is a short and easy hike to Danger Cave.  The hike to Juke Box Cave is short but steep.  To tour both caves allow for 3 hrs. 

John Jarvie Ranch Historic Tour

Saturday, May 1 at 10a (in-person)

Saturday, May 15 at 10a (in-person)

Come and meet with an archaeologist from the BLM to tour the Historic John Jarvie Ranch in Brown’s Park. Learn about the history of Brown’s Park while discussing ranchers, outlaws, homesteaders, and prehistoric people who called northern Utah home. Life on the frontier at the last turn of the century was a wild place. So explore with us the history of life along the Green River, with stories of outlaws, homesteaders, and Native Americans who shaped the Western United States that we see today.

Preservation Utah’s Webinar Series: Chapters of Utah’s Architectural History

Monday, May 3: The Ancestral Puebloan (online)

Thursday, May 6: Utah’s Nomadic Tribes (online)

Monday, May 10: Mountain Men: Trading Posts and Forts (online)

Thursday, May 13: Pioneer Settlement Patters: Building Zion in the American West (online)

Monday, May 17: Immigrant Architecture and Industrial Communities (online)

Thursday, May 20: Early 20th Century Architectural Professionalization (online)

Monday, May 24: 20th Century Modernism (online)

We have a full month of planned of activities planned to celebrate. We will explore Utah’s rich architectural history with a seven-part lecture series – Chapters of Utah’s Architectural History – that spans from the early Ancestral Puebloans reaching all the way into the mid 20th century to explore modernism. These lectures will be release throughout the month, see below for more information on their release date and theme. Check out to learn more!

The History of the CCC in the Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area

Saturday, May 8, 10a to noon (in-person)

The event will be a driving tour with stops to learn about the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) grazing projects that were constructed in the Beaver Dam NCA.   We will visit the CCC constructed Turtle Flat Corral and Welcome Spring Tank and Corral.  Please bring a vehicle appropriate for driving on dirt roads with potential clearance issues, as well as a hat, water, a snack, and sunscreen.  Parking in the vicinity is limited.  This event will follow May 2021 CDC guidelines for Covid 19.

Native Place Names

Saturday, May 8 from 10a to 3p (in-person)

The Hyrum City Museum is celebrating Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month with their on-going Second Saturday event.

Join us anytime between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 8th to learn about Native Name Places! Peruse maps and other items that will be on display, which include the names of many places and features in our region before they were renamed by European settlers. We will also offer a fun children’s art activity and take-home materials for everyone! 

Cedar City Rock Art Documentation Project

Saturday, May 8 at 10:30a (in-person)

The BLM is seeking two volunteers to assist with documentation of pictographs at a remote site in the Cedar City Field Office. Volunteers will work with BLM archaeologists to prepare sketches of the pictograph panels and update the current site form. This event is expected to last approximately 5-6 hours due to travel time to the site. Volunteers may either ride with the BLM archaeologists or drive their own 4wd vehicle to the event location. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Nicole Lohman, BLM-Utah Assistant State Archaeologist by email at no later than Friday, April 30th.

Early Hunter-Gatherers of the Colorado Plateau

Thursday, May 13, 7p (online)

Please join the Castle Valley Archaeological Society as we host Dr. Jesse Tune for our May meeting.The central Colorado Plateau contains an exceptional density of cultural resources. Historically, however, archaeological research has frequently overlooked the late Pleistocene and early Holocene record of this area. As such, the Paleoindian record is reviewed here to understand the nature of early human occupation in the region. Projectile point typology, toolstone selection, and site distributions are used to characterize early human-environment dynamics. Results indicate that as early as 13,000 years ago Clovis groups were living in the region. Subsequent groups of hunter-gatherers quickly adapted to exploiting local resources. Finally, the presence of stone tools typically found in neighboring regions suggests that the central Colorado Plateau was part of early interregional land use strategies.

Bio: Dr. Tune is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Fort Lewis College, in Durango, Colorado. He is a prehistoric archaeologist who studies Ice Age human migrations and the colonization of new landscapes. His research focuses on investigating the relationships between humans and the environment – specifically how humans adapt to new or changing environments. His current research involves documenting the early human occupation of the Colorado Plateau, investigating early stone tool technologies in the Southeast United States, and studying how humans adapt to resource accessibility.

Guided hike of the petroglyphs at the Santa Clara Reserve

Saturday, May 15, 10a – 11:30a (in-person)

This event will be a guided hike along the Santa Clara River, starting at the Tukupetsi Trailhead. This trail meanders along the Santa Clara River in a beautiful riparian setting. More than 90 rock imagery panels have been recorded in this location. The hike will discuss what we know about these panels, what archeologists do to record them and our strategies to protect such unique, invaluable resources. The hike will be relatively easy, a total of 2-3 miles. Please bring hat, water, sunglasses, sunscreen, binoculars, and a camera! This event will follow May 2021 CDC guidelines for Covid 19. Please RSVP to by Friday, April 30, 2021 as this event is open to a maximum of 12 people. We hope to see you there!Meet at the Tukupetsi Trailhead off Santa Clara Drive in the City of Ivins, Utah. This trailhead is down the same road at the Santa Clara Public Works yard. (A map or more specific directions will be given with the reservation, see RSVP information below).

Petroglyph Documentation at Santa Clara Reserve

Tuesday, May 18th  9am – 2pm

Join the BLM in documenting the large petroglyph site at Land Hill on the Santa Clara Reserve. This site is well known to tourists, but the documentation is outdated. BLM archaeologists and 4-5 volunteers will work on relocating documented petroglyph panels and search for undocumented petroglyphs at the site. Once all panels are located the group with photograph and GPS panel locations as well as update the site documentation. Volunteers are welcome to visit the numerous other petroglyph sites in the reserve after the documentation project is concluded. The project will require a moderate hike of approximately 1.5 miles to the site from the parking lot. There is no shade at the site and volunteers should bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and plenty of water.

Sego Rock Imagery Panel Tour

Saturday May 22 from 10a to 2p (in-person)

Archaeologists Lori Hunsaker and Ami Schlosser will be at the Sego Canyon Rock Imagery site to lead brief tours and answer questions.

Nine Mile Archaeological Science Tours

Friday May 21 and Saturday May 22 (in-person)

Join PaleoWest in the world-famous Nine Mile Canyon on Friday May 21st and Saturday May 22nd as we celebrate Utah’s Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month!

We will be showcasing the use of technology in archaeological site recordation and documentation. Join PaleoWest archaeologists and GIS specialists as we document sites throughout the Canyon. Nine Mile is famous for its abundance of rock art – both pictograph and petroglyph – spanning from the Archaic Period through the Proto Historic Era.

On Friday May 21st, we will be using drone technology to visit and document several inaccessible archaeological sites. This is an opportunity to witness never before seen footage of sites that haven’t been visited in more than a decade. Then, on Saturday May 22nd we will be using photogrammetric 3D modeling to record the rock art at the Daddy Canyon Complex. We invite you to help our crew photo-document rock art panels, draw sketches, and watch the live action as PaleoWest uses this groundbreaking technology. On both days, we will also be providing demos of Codifi, the industry-leading tablet-computer application for paperless archaeological site recording.

Sign-ups are completely free, just shoot an email to to RSVP. Sign-ups close on Friday May 14th so don’t delay! We’ll be sending all trip details, such as when and where to meet, via email once you sign up. We are so excited for this event – huge thanks to our partners at the Bureau of Land Management Price Field Office for making this possible! PaleoWest is a proud to join our local community in documenting these priceless archaeological resources.

Auto Tour of the Hastings Cutoff

Saturday, May 22 (in-person)

The Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) is excited to announce our, Saturday,  May 22nd OCTA Tour along the Hastings Trail from Horseshoe Springs in Skull Valley to the Grayback Mountains on the eastern edge of the Salt Flats.  This is a part of the trail where ruts, camps, and springs we visit today look like they did in 1846. There is a lot to see and do. We are fortunate to have Ray Kelsey of the BLM as our tour guide. Put that date on your calendar!

The tour is open to the public. It is a free, automobile tour. (You drive your own vehicle). We will drive on dirt roads suitable for any SUV.

Spring City Heritage Day Event

Saturday May 29 from 10a to 4p (in-person)

Come join us for a day of fun. You can tour historic homes, buy art, browse antiques, and enjoy the local flavor or Spring City.

History Sessions

May 31, 2021 from 11am – 1 pm in person or online

Preservation Utah and Lake Effect are partnering to present History Sessions, a gathering that aims to showcase preservation success stories in Utah. Tickets include two glasses of wine or whiskey and a tapas plate, a multilevel exclusive tour of the building and a lecture on the building’s history from Preservation Utah’s Executive Director, David Amott. The entire event is expected to last between 1-1.5 hours and will be closed off to the general public. Physical distancing and COVID event safety standards will be in place during the entire event.

Online Version:  Tickets include access to the lecture by David Amott, a voucher for a free appetizer at Lake Effect to be redeemed when you are more comfortable going into public spaces, and select inside images of the historic space.

Get your tickets here.

Scandinavian Festival Heritage Conference

Friday May 28th at 11am (in-person)

The Scandinavian Festival Heritage Conference gives participants an opportunity to learn about Scandinavian, pioneer, and historical influences in Ephraim and the Sanpete Valley. The presentations are particularly interesting for those with Scandinavian or other pioneer ancestors.

This year the conference features two presentations that focus on the voices, images, and history of the people and places of Ephraim and the Sanpete Valley. This is a great way to kick off the beginning of our festival!

At 11 a.m. David Chapman Lindsay a Utah Artist will talk about a digital exhibition of Ephraim and Sanpete historical locations given voice by artists and historians. His presentation is titled: “Our Valley Speaks: A Sanpete Experience”

At 12 pm
Ryan Roos, a western historian and rare book dealer, will speak about the life and photographs of George Edward Anderson, a prominent photographer in the 19th century and early 20th century who captured many historically significant images of people, places, and events in Ephraim and the Sanpete Valley. His talk is titled “The Lens of Madness: Photographer George Edward Anderson as Central Utah’s Greatest Historian”

More from the Scandanavian Festival can be found on their website:

Back to the Future: Salty Science Seminar

June 1 at 7pm (online)

Let’s go back in time and explore Great Salt Lake through the lens of history. These histories are told by scientists that study rocks, archeological evidence and even bird remains preserved along the shores of our lake. Join us on June 1 at 7pm for Salty Science Seminar “Back to the Future” where Jack Oviatt (Lake Bonneville geologist) will talk about the history of the GSL basin on a million-year time scale as told in scraps of available geologic information, including evidence from sediment cores. Allison Wolfe (Paleozoologist at University of Utah) will describe the dynamics of GSL bird populations through time, as told through 13,000-year-old owl pellets excavated from a cave near the lake. Dr. Judson Finley (Archaeologist Utah State University) will bring us to the human side of history by exploring how ancient people relied on the resources of Great Salt Lake and how climate change affected them. Put together, these histories can provide evidence of our future and the future of our Great Salt Lake.

The Salty Science Series is hosted by Great Salt Lake at Westminster College. We hope that you will break out your inner nerd and have a lake themed dinner or drink ready to enjoy while you learn about the lake.

Don’t worry if you cannot make this virtually in person, as they will be recorded and available when you have time.