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Planet Earth

Utah Archaeologists Get Whacked

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJune 25, 2011 1:13 AM

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I have a story that just went up on the Science magazine website. I'll have much more to say about it on my site over the weekend. UPDATE: I didn't see this editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune until after my story was published in Science. Here's an excerpt:

Puzzling out the real reason why the state archaeologist and his two assistants were fired Tuesday, supposedly for budget reasons alone, is also a matter of setting the event in context. But it doesn't take a lot of digging to see that the lamentable action had very little to do with payroll and everything to do with payback. Officially, the axing of state archaeologist Kevin Jones and assistants Derinna Kopp and Ronald Rood was nothing personal, just business, forced upon the Utah Department of Community and Culture by legislative spending cuts. But, set in its full context, the firings strongly suggest that the archaeologists had become very unpopular with the powers that be in the Legislature, governor's office, Utah Transit Authority and others in Utah's inordinately powerful real estate development business.

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