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Archeological Program

Archeology LinkThe cultural resources in the Monticello area represent a long and significant history of use by both Native Americans and European pioneers. A cultural resource is anything resulting from human activities. These resources include ruins, rock art, tools, trails, and sites that show evidence of human development. In Utah, this resource base stretches from the earliest known human habitation dating back at least 10,000 years to the modern developments of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is the mandate of the BLM to inventory, preserve, and interpret these important but fragile, nonrenewable resources on public lands.

Cultural resources give us information about historic and prehistoric human cultures - their geographic distribution, their time range, where the people came from, what happened to them, and what they made and did. This information is important because our present attitudes, values, ideas and material culture have been shaped largely by our past. By studying prehistory and history we can appreciate the forces that have operated to bring us where we are. Cultural resources are generally divided into three categories. These are prehistoric resources, historic resources, and traditional cultural properties.
 
The objectives of the BLM's cultural resources program are to discover, locate, identify, evaluate and wisely use these sites, districts, buildings, structures and objects for scientific, cultural and educational use by present and future generations.
 
The program includes:
Interpretation (and Public Education) - Interpretation efforts include educating people about ways they can minimize their impact while enjoying resources, posting signs and exhibits explaining sites and culturally significant areas, staffing ranger stations with rangers and volunteers, presentations to the public, schools, and boy scouts, establishment of trails and other viewing areas including designation of walking routes through fragile sites, publication of study findings, and development of internet information resources. We suggest that you visit our Archeology page for more information.
 
Protection and Stabilization - BLM actively investigates and prosecutes instances of resource vandalism and theft. Other protection and stabilization work is done on sites that are in danger of human caused deterioration or that pose a threat to public safety. Several sites in danger of natural deterioration were stabilized for visitation in the past. A recent project stabilized several more. Often sites in danger of natural deterioration are not stabilized because of the high cost.
 
Inventory - Inventory on 1.8 million acres is almost overwhelming. Only a small percentage of these lands have been inventoried. Because of the large amount of land and the limited public funds available, the BLM concentrates its efforts on areas with known cultural values or areas proposed for projects that are likely to disturb the ground surface and thus damage cultural sites.
 
Monitoring – BLM has an active monitoring program designed to identify sites needing protection work and to discover and explain trends in site condition. Old photographs of sites are retaken where possible for this purpose. A Site Steward Program operated in cooperation with the State of Utah uses volunteers to monitor numerous important sites.
 
Protected By Law
Prehistoric and historic cultural resources are part of every American's national heritage. But it is a heritage that is being destroyed by intentional and unintentional vandalism and looting. It has been estimated that more damage was done to ancient sites in the United States last year than in the previous 600 years.
 
The Congress, on behalf of the American people, has enacted many laws to protect these national treasures.
 
The Antiquities Act of 1906 first provided for the preservation and protection of antiquities on Federal land and established penalties for violation.
 
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and various amendments established a program for preservation of historic properties.
 
The 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act establishes a national policy for protection and management of cultural resources.
 
The American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 provides for access to and use of sacred sites and objects on Federal lands.
 

The 1979 Archaeological Resources Protection Act strengthens the Federal Government's legal commitment to protect these resources by establishing stiff penalties such as prison sentences and fines for those found guilty of excavating, removing, transporting, or selling these resources without a permit. An amendment in 1968 mandated Federal Land Management agencies the task of educating the public about archaeological resources.

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