BLM Urges Protection of Ancient Artifacts

281 Items Recovered After Looting Near Utah Border

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) pleads for the public's help in preserving cultural and ancient artifacts after two people were convicted of looting near the Utah/Arizona border. 

An ancient site near Beaver Dam, Arizona was looted in 2016 by Tara Craft and Matthew Doyle. The pair admitted to going inside subsurface pit houses to take pottery, arrowheads, and other valuable artifacts.

During the investigation, nearly 200 pieces of ancient history were seized from their home, which traced back to Nevada, Arizona and Utah. 

"Even though the damage was about $4,000 worth, the long lasting repercussions are far greater," BLM Arizona Strip District Spokesperson Rachel Carnahan said. 

Besides their scientific value, the artifacts provide critical insight into past human behavior. 

"When these things are damaged, it denies all of us opportunities to learn more about our history," Carnahan said. 

With a wealth of ancient evidence scattered around the southern half of our state, the BLM urges the public to appreciate the artifacts but leave them alone. 

"We are tripping over artifacts, remnants of the culture of the people who were here before everyday, everywhere we go," Susan Crook said, Land Program Manager/SUNCLF Director.

President's Day weekend marks the beginning of a busy spring travel season in southern Utah. With thousands of tourists comes a greater risk to ancient artifacts. 

To preserve the Land Hill sites, Conserve Southwest Utah created team of around 25 people who patrol the sacred petroglyphs and lands.

"We still get some vandalism but it seem like we are on top of it a little more quickly," Crook said. 

It is a federal crime to damage, steal or sell ancient artifacts or sites under the Archeological Resources Protection Act. If any of these crimes are witnessed, call 911.


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