The Bureau of Land Management is considering sending ancient Anasazi Indian artifacts found on public land in southeastern Utah to the BLM's Anasazi Heritage Center near Dolores, Colo., officials say.
Since the early 1970s, the BLM has kept the artifacts ranging from pottery and arrowheads to human remains at Edge of the Cedars State Park in Blanding.However, the museum is nearly full, and Acting Utah BLM Director Kemp Conn says the federal agency must now consider either building an addition to the museum or sending artifacts to the Colorado center.
"Edge of the Cedars cannot handle all of the artifacts collected on public lands in southeastern Utah," Conn said.
The BLM also is considering using both the museum and center as repositories, and Conn said he hopes for an agreement between the two to share collections and to rotate artifacts and exhibits.
The Utah BLM would provide funds for the center to inventory artifacts from the region, he said.
Meanwhile, San Juan County Commissioner Calvin Black has asked to meet with Conn to discuss the issue. He said he believes artifacts dug up in southeastern Utah should remain in the state.
Dave Madsen, Utah state archaeologist, agreed. "Whenever possible, artifacts should be held locally."
Madsen said that in the past some Utahns have used excavation by out-of-state museums and universities as an excuse for indiscriminate collecting. He believes that sending artifacts across state lines may reinforce that viewpoint.