Transit agency to delay site development decision

Salt Lake City, Utah (AP) 4-09

The Utah Transportation Authority will delay a decision on a proposal to develop a south Salt Lake valley commuter rail stop, shopping center and housing until more study can be done on the area, an attorney said.

UTA attorney Bruce Jones said the decision comes after UTA officials met with state regulators and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“We will decide on the site not by a (certain) date, but after this process of investigation is completed sufficiently that we think we have not only we, but also the state and federal agencies involved a sufficient understanding of what we think the site is in order to make a decision,” Jones said.

 

Archaeologists believe artifacts found on the 250-acre site between Interstate 15 and the Jordan River are evidence of a 3,000-year-old Native American tribe.

It’s unclear if UTA’s investigation plans will include a full excavation of the site.

Archaeologists have studied the area three times and have excavated fire pits, a house and part of a second house, along with other artifacts.

Assistant state archaeologist Ron Rood says there’s still work to be done at the site and hopes UTA will seek a different location for its project.

Rood said those who live on the site had a diet of plants, grass seeds, cattails, rice grass, yuccas, pine nuts, rabbits, deer and big horn sheep. They also did not use pottery or make tools from metal.

“We recovered lots and lots of their cooking stones and rocks that they would have used for cooking food,” Rood said.

A chemical analysis of the tools found help archaeologists make a groundbreaking discovery: The inhabitants experimented with farming corn.

“We don’t really see corn being used by prehistoric folks until roughly 2,000 years ago, or 1,000 years after this site was occupied,” he said. “It has the potential to add some really cool information about early agriculture in the Great Basin.”

 

 

 

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