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SANDY — Construction crews working on a pipeline recently uncovered materials that are suspected to be part of an ancient site.
The crews were working on a Questar Gas pipeline through Dimple Dell Park when they uncovered “black stuff” that caught the attention of an environment worker, according to a Questar Corp news release. The workers suspected the soot-stained rock and charcoal debris could be evidence of an ancient fire pit or pit house.
“This is exciting,” Questar Corp environmental coordinator Laura Springsteen said in the news release. “We hired archaeologists who began working the site last Friday. They removed the overburden and overlying deposits and set up a grid for the excavation areas.”
The archaeologists originally estimated the site was about 3,000 years old, but after finding more remnants such as chipped rocks, animal bones and an obsidian cutting tool, they suggested the site may be closer to 1,500 years old, the news release said.
However, the discovery is not uncommon in Utah, according to Utah Department for Heritage and Arts public information officer Geoffrey Fattah.
“We actually get several reports of the discovery of human remains found throughout the state each year,” Fattah said. “People have lived in Utah for more than 10,000 years as far as we know… It’s not uncommon, but it doesn’t happen all the time.”
Fattah said it is important that when people find these ancient sites or artifacts that they contact authorities and don’t disturb the sites.
“These sites are important for archaeologists to understand how humans in this area lived,” Fattah said. “What kind of cultures they belonged to as well as what they ate and what they hunted and how they interacted with each other.”
More projectile points, other stone tools, flakes and large quantities of animal bones were discovered at the site Tuesday and the archaeologists expect to complete the excavation work by the weekend. They will bury the site after completing their excavation, which Fattah said is an effective way to protect the site.
The artifacts will be studied and researchers will try to learn more about the people who originally inhabited the site.
Contributing: Brianna Bodily, Nicole Vowell