A crew of some 65 University of Pittsburgh scientists plan to begin their largest out-of-state archaeological dig Tuesday to excavate ancient Indian relics in Utah.
The Pittsburgh archaeologists will dig 11 sites along a 47-mile stretch of I-70 west of Green River that is scheduled to be widened."They are doing the last archaeological investigation out there," said Utah Department of Transportation archaeologist Kenny Winch. "They are negating the adverse effects of construction on these archaeological sites before they (contractors) actually go in with bulldozers."
Under a 1976 federal law, archaeologists must be allowed to have an opportunity to retrieve culturally valuable relics before highway construction begins. The federal government will pay for most of the project, with UDOT picking up the balance.
"Some of those sites are as recent as a few hundred years old," Winch said. "And some are as old as perhaps somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago."