Message #359: From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG To: "'Matthias Giessler'" Subject: Fire Rehabilitation in Utah Date: Sun, 03 Nov 1996 22:37:30 -0700 Encoding: MIME-Version: 1.0 From: Mark Henderson The following artcle appeared in the Ely Daily Times, Thursday, October 31, 1996, page 3. You and other SASIG watchers might be interested in trying to follow this one: Fire uncovers Indian Artifacts SALT LAKE CITY (AP)- Wildfires that burned tens of thousands of acres of brush across the Utah desert this summer have also revealed a trove of ancient American Indian artifacts, causing disagreement over the restoration of the charred land. The scorching of 182,000 acres in the west Utah desert has made it easier for archaeologists to spot what they think are remnants of ancient Indian cultures. "What we're seeing are things like flint chipping stations, or maybe the remnants of a fence," said Dave Henderson, area manager for the federal Bureau of Land Management. Archaeologists have persuaded the bureau to postpone reseeding and tree removal so they have time to root around for more sites that until now were hidden by undergrowth. Some of the artifacts appear to predate the Fremont or Anasazi Indians, who lived in the area from around 375 B.C. to the 1300s. They were discovered during a federally required survey of the land designed to protect possible links to the past prior to restoration, a process one archeologist complained was moving too quickly. "We're only being allowed to survey 20 percent of the burn area for artifacts," Eugene Romanski said. He said the restoration work, which can include the dragging of a thick chain between two bulldozers to uproot dead trees, could destroy sites that may be as old as 10,000 years. The bureau postponed the restoration, which it said must be done at some point to prevent widespread erosion. "Sample surveys said our basic assumptions about the archaeology of the area were wrong," said Garth Portillo, an archaeologist working for the bureau. "We're trying to do the right thing here and not go off willy-nilly and be harmful to the resources and be sorry about it later."