Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the third annual Utah Archaeology Week will kickoff in a big way at the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum with activities and workshops designed to teach the public about Utah heritage through the centuries.
The kickoff is one of six events in Southern Utah spanning Washington, Iron and Beaver Counties. Events will include a guided tour of an ongoing archaeological dig in St. George, a guided tour of the Parowan Gap, and a guided tour of the historic Frisco ghost town.
Southern Utah, Utah Archaeology Week Coordinator, Samantha Kirkley said Utah is packed to the brim with rich archaeological sites that offer many clues to the past people who lived in Utah in both ancient times and the recent past.
“We are connecting people to the past – connecting people to people – because you know, archaeology is the study of past people,” she said. “People get caught up into the ‘I want to dig up stuff’, but it’s not about the stuff, it’s about the people who left that stuff behind.”
Each piece of pottery excavated, each arrowhead discovered, and each mining town left behind by miners only to be found decades later by new eyes, reveal clues about the people who left those objects behind, and Kirkley said that understanding those clues was an essential component to connecting with the past.
She said it’s important to educate the public about what to do if they come across artifacts. She said she wants people to understand that by removing a clue when they find it; sometimes they render the puzzle impossible to solve.
“I want people to understand and appreciate what they have,” Kirkley said. “I think you can’t have them appreciate these special sacred places if you never teach them about it and tell them why it’s special.”
She said that tomorrow’s Archaeology Week kickoff event for Southern Utah will have a variety of workshops and presentations to teach the public about the day-to-day lives of Utah’s ancestors.
Frontier Homestead State Park Museum director Todd Prince said there are a lot of agencies and organizations involved with helping to sponsor and promote the week-long celebration of things uncovered from the past.
Prince said that Southern Utah University, Project Archaeology, the Bureau of Land Management and many other private individuals have dedicated some time, or funding to help pull the celebration together.
“It’s really just a celebration of prehistoric and historic history of Utah,” he said. “So there are many, many different people and organizations involved.”
Prince said that attendees could learn everything from how to make rope and work wood, to creating prehistoric sandals from scratch and flint napping for handmade arrows. He said there would be informative booths and vendors, and if all works out, fry bread.
The event is scheduled tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Frontier Homestead State Park and Museum, 635 N Main St, Cedar City. There is an entry fee, but once inside activities are free.
For more information call (435) 586-9290.