We’re losing Utah’s history
Help Stop Archaeological Vandalism
We’re losing Utah’s history. 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.
Archaeologists call anywhere that past people lived or used an archaeological site, and each archaeological site is an important piece to understanding our past. Some archaeological sites may still be visited by descendant groups, like Indigenous rock imagery sites, or may be important to cultural identity, like Chinese and Italian railroad camps.
Here in Utah, damage to archaeological sites is on the rise. Any damage to an archaeological site, including destruction or looting, is archaeological vandalism and may be illegal under federal or state laws. Not only that, but archaeological vandalism damages places that many people consider special or even sacred.
TOGETHER WE CAN STOP ARCHAEOLOGICAL VANDALISM!
TIPS FOR VISITING ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
Leave artifacts in their place. The exact location of each artifact tells a story, and rebuilding stone walls or piling together pottery fragments can destroy the past. If you pick up and look at artifacts, be sure to put them back where you found them.
Stay on trails, and keep pets leashed around archaeological sites. Erosion can damage or destroy sites.
Hands off rock imagery. Oils and dirt from our hands can, over time, damage ancient rock images.
Utah Sites Vandalized
If you see someone looting an archaeological site, don’t approach them. Take notes and pictures if it’s safe, and remember where you were.
If someone is damaging an archaeological site because they don’t know any better, you can kindly ask them to stop if you feel comfortable. Otherwise, take photographs and take note of where you are.
You can anonymously report new damage or call 800 722 3998.
HOW ELSE CAN I HELP?
Share this with your friends. The best way to help stop archaeological vandalism is to let your friends and family know how they can help protect the past. Share this page, and follow the Utah State Historic Preservation Office (Utah SHPO) on social media. [Sarina, can you create a link that will take visitors to the bottom of the page where our social media buttons are?]
Use our flyer to spread the word. Print out UPAN’s flyer and post it (with permission) in public places to let others know how they can stop archaeological vandalism!
OTHER LINKS AND RESOURCES
- Respect and Protect https://www.treadlightly.org/programs/respect-and-protect/
- BLM Utah https://www.blm.gov/programs/cultural-resources
- Forest Service https://www.fs.usda.gov/
- School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration https://trustlands.utah.gov/
- Utah Forestry, Fire, and State Lands https://ffsl.utah.gov/