Utah Archaeologists Get Whacked

By Keith Kloor | June 24, 2011 4:13 pm

I have a story that just went up on the Science magazine website. I’ll have much more to say about it on my site over the weekend.

UPDATE: I didn’t see this editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune until after my story was published in Science. Here’s an excerpt:

Puzzling out the real reason why the state archaeologist and his two assistants were fired Tuesday, supposedly for budget reasons alone, is also a matter of setting the event in context. But it doesn’t take a lot of digging to see that the lamentable action had very little to do with payroll and everything to do with payback.

Officially, the axing of state archaeologist Kevin Jones and assistants Derinna Kopp and Ronald Rood was nothing personal, just business, forced upon the Utah Department of Community and Culture by legislative spending cuts.

But, set in its full context, the firings strongly suggest that the archaeologists had become very unpopular with the powers that be in the Legislature, governor’s office, Utah Transit Authority and others in Utah’s inordinately powerful real estate development business.

MORE ABOUT: Archaeology
  • Jeff Norris

    I understand that reporting on mudslinging, name calling and the general hyper ventilation in the Climate Blogs is more entertaining, but I was really hoping for a follow up post on this.  Something informative, insightful and maybe even dealing with the conundrum of dealing with wants versus needs in this time of limited government resources would be a nice change of pace on any media continuing to set an example for others to follow.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    It’s coming later.

  • BBD

    This is appalling.

  • JohnB

    Not good Keith. All nations need their archaeologists to allow for proper investigation and preservation of sites.


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Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at http://www.keithkloor.com/

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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