America's First Archaeological Suburb?

<p>Most developers dread finding archaeological remains. Normally it means months of delays and increased costs while archaeologists investigate the site. However, some savvy developers are turning archaeological finds into a marketing advantage.</p>
June 10, 2008, 1pm PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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Many developers "believe the discovery of bones will lead to the state or an Indian tribe seizing private land. Fearing that, some will probably order the bulldozers quietly to bury what they unearth."

"...Bloomington, a suburb of St George, has built a cul-de-sac around a huge boulder marked with petroglyphs-a model that will soon be followed by a developer near Salt Lake City. A site near Cortez, in Colorado, which is dotted with more than 200 Indian ruins, is being marketed as "America's first archaeological development": buyers can do their own excavations, but must bequeath what they find to a local museum. Perhaps the most extraordinary example is Mountain's Edge, a half-built suburb near Las Vegas, where an ersatz archaeological dig has been incorporated into a park. Clearly, if a site lacks history there is a need to invent it. In a fast-growing area where many buyers lack roots, a bit of local history may help sales."

As GPS and web-based maps proliferate, it becomes increasingly difficult to protect far-flung and lonely archeology sites from vandalism and theft. While "archaeology-themed suburbs" may be troubling to some, the "best chance of preserving America's archaeological heritage may be to surround it with houses."

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Published on Thursday, May 8, 2008 in The Economist
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