Governor Cox Encourages Everyone To Pledge to Protect the Past

Every year beginning around Spring Break, the state kicks off the annual “archaeological vandalism” season with a bang. In 2021, we had at least two instances of archaeological resource crime in Utah hit the national press, and many more lower-profile instances of damage also occurred. Archaeological resources often cannot be repaired and can never be replaced once they are damaged. By our count, nearly one third of all archaeological sites have some damage to them that has occurred in the modern period. Researchers, descendant communities, local residents, recreation operators and more all have an interest in protecting and preserving archaeological sites.

What You Can Do

Archaeological sites are any place that humans once were. Archaeological sites can be big or small, old or relatively recent, grand or mundane! They are all irreplaceable and special in their own way.

We are asking that everyone who is heading into Utah’s great outdoors this summer take the Pledge to Protect the Past. The pledge is a commitment you make to yourself to visit archaeological sites in a way that will preserve them for future generations.

Not sure how to Protect the Past? No problem! Archaeologists at the Utah SHPO have designed a 6-week program that will get you up to speed… fast! We know that you need arm yourself with the information you need to make sure that your visits to archaeological sites doesn’t pose a danger to them before you head out, so there’s no better time to get a start! Here’s what you will learn each week:

  • Week One:    Learn About Utah’s Past
  • Week Two:    Places to Visit
  • Week Three: Think Like an Archaeologist
  • Week Four:   You Can Stop Archaeological Vandalism This Weekend
  • Week Five:    Become a Site Steward
  • Week Six:      Descendant Voices

The Pledge starts when you do, so what are you waiting for? Take the Pledge at and head off into your weekend knowing that you are on the road to protecting Utah’s past!

Did you take the Pledge! Awesome! Let us know by using the hashtags #PledgetoSAV and #visitwithrespect, and follow us at the links below.