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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

24 Indicted For Looting Ancient Indian Artifacts

Twenty-four people have been named as criminal defendants in the theft of archaeological and cultural artifacts from public and Indian lands in the Four Corners area.

That's from this Deseret News article about a federal investigation into allegded looting of ancient graves and other sites, many of which are located in southeastern Utah. Below are excerpts from the article.

The stolen artifacts, some of which were on display during the news conference, including an Archaic period obsidian blade and a black-on-white bowl recovered from San Juan County.

Utah's cultural treasures have often been the target of vandals and thieves, with arrowheads stolen from museums and damage reported to ancient rock art in the southern Utah area.

A 2006 report by the National Trust for Historic Preservation concluded that artifact hunters, off-roaders, urban sprawl and vandals are "robbing the nation" of cultural resources.

It's illegal to take artifacts from public or Indian lands without a permit or from private lands without permission from the landowner, said (Utah State Archaeologist Kevin) Jones.

Federal and state officials have been tracking down and prosecuting Utah looters for years.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the investigation.

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