BLM Investigates Disturbance of Possible Archeological Site

BLM Investigates Disturbance of Possible Archeological Site

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Bureau of Land Management has assigned an agent to investigate the report that a gas company bulldozed into a possible archaeological site in central Utah's Nine Mile Canyon.

Keith Aller, chief of BLM law enforcement in Utah, said Monday, "We need to assemble the facts, and that hasn't been done yet."

Last week, officials of the BLM's Price field office confirmed that crews for the Denver-based Bill Barrett Corp. may have struck a possible archaeological site.

According to preliminary information, BBC crews were working along Nine Mile Creek, near a tributary called Water Canyon, when they apparently uncovered some charcoal-stained soils and fire-cracked rocks, indicators of possible historical human presence.

The soil and rocks appeared to be part of "a hearth spatially associated with a masonry structure," although no rock art or structures were damaged, said Mark Mackiewicz, the BLM's manager for oil and gas projects in Nine Mile Canyon.

The site could be from prehistoric Indians hundreds of years ago or only the remnants of a modern cowboy camp.

The bulldozing was part of the company's work to replace aging pipelines in the canyon. The company also is proposing large seismic and drilling projects in Nine Mile Canyon.

The canyon, about 30 miles northeast of Price, the canyon is renowned for pictographs from the Fremont Indian culture era of about A.D. 600 to 1200.

The blading incident is being investigated by a BBC subcontractor, the Moab-based Montgomery Archaeological Consultants.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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