HomeCoal Bed Village Site Protection

Coal Bed Village Site Protection

Coal Bed Village is a very large, very important Ancestral Puebloan (or Anasazi culture) archaeological site on school trust land in San Juan County, Utah. One of the largest sites in the area, Coal Bed Village has been known to the archaeological world since the 1870s. Unfortunately, during this time the site has suffered greatly from massive, ever-accelerating sedimentary erosion, especially in the past 50 years. To slow down these erosional effects, Trust Lands first erected a fence around the perimeter of the site to exclude cattle grazing and allow for increased vegetation growth. However, due to the persistent drought in the region, it was clear that the existing plant communities were having difficulty re-establishing a foothold. As a result, Trust Lands Rangeland Specialists were enlisted to prepare a custom seed mix for the site which should allow for a significant increase in ground cover and erosion control. With volunteer help from the Utah Cultural Site Stewardship Program, the seed was broadcast across the site in the fall, and we are anticipating positive results in the coming spring. Unfortunately, when the preservation of the archaeological contexts of Coal Bed Village cannot be secured through erosional prevention, then the next best thing is for those contexts to be preserved through systematic archaeological investigation. To accomplish this type of preservation, Trust Lands has partnered with Brigham Young University, Weber State University, and New Mexico State University. These institutions have been employed to excavate the most at-risk portions of the site as part of their summer archaeological field school programs. The goal is to collect and curate as much data as possible before it quite literally is washed away. These recovery efforts will be seasonally ongoing through 2025.

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