Michigan Tech News

Digging Up the Past in Utah


By Jennifer Donovan


Last Modified 10:37 AM, July 9, 2009

March 27, 2009—

A scientist from Michigan is digging up the past in Utah. The 19th century pottery he unearths will be displayed at the Iron Mission State Park Museum in Cedar City.

Tim Scarlett, an archeologist at Michigan Technological University, calls pottery one of Utah's "pioneer-era" industries.

"The potters helped build a society in the desert," he says.

Scarlett and his team have located 45 sites in 26 Utah towns, from Logan to St. George, from Panguitch to Vernal.

He heads the Utah Pottery Project, which is working to gather into one place information about the potters, their work, their products and their contributions to the history of Utah. The exhibit will open this spring.

Scarlett envisions a replica of a pottery works. He wants to involve teachers, students, community planners, the media, genealogists, historians, ceramics artists, chemists, art historians and archival experts.

"My hope is to reinvent public archeology," he says. "Utah could become a best-practice model."

Michigan Technological University (www.mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.