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Treasures of the Tavaputs

"Oil shale brought me to the Tavaputs Plateau. Its striking beauty and rich past have kept me coming back.

As a young archaeologist I was part of a team that in 1976 hiked the ridges and canyons of the plateau recording archaeological sites in areas designated for oil shale development. Luckily, for the sake of the rich archaeological record, that development never took place. But, likely, sometime, it will.

Treasures of the Tavaputs

And when it does it will rend the desolate serenity of this most rugged and isolated region—a region of steep terrain, unforgiving climate, staggering remoteness, and unrivaled stark beauty. This great plateau, cleaved by the mile-deep Desolation Canyon of the Green River, is one of the most remote areas in the continental United States.

And it is home to a remarkable set of flora, fauna, and other resources. People have roamed the Tavaputs for many thousands of years, finding refuge and resources that, while not present in great abundance, were there for those knowledgeable and hardy enough to find and take them to feed and shelter their families.

And those people, drawn by those resources, left traces of their lives on the ground and on the canyon walls, leaving a remarkable archaeological record—the only historical information available about the human past on the great Tavaputs Plateau.

I hope as we continue to exploit the resources of the Tavaputs—the oil, gas, flora, fauna, oil shale, and other resources, that we can do so without destroying the character and spirit of this wild and remarkable place, and that we can protect and learn from the archaeological libraries left here by earlier generations.

The Tavaputs Plateau gained my admiration, respect, and love over thirty years ago, and remains a place of great importance to me. I believe this book and the efforts by Jerry Spangler and the Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance will be crucial to the survival of the Tavaputs Plateau. I hope as you read, you too will come to love and understand the plateau, and will join with us to see that it is given the long-term consideration and care it deserves."

--State Archaeologist for Utah Kevin Jones

Copy available for $10 minimum donation plus postage.


The Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance is a non-profit organization created under the laws of the state of Utah

(Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3) charitable organization).

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