Archeologists find prehistoric footprints in Utah’s West Desert

Jul 27, 2022, 10:30 AM | Updated: Jul 29, 2022, 11:56 am
A building on Hill Air Force Base was evacuated on Thursday morning. The smell was reportedly detec...
FILE: The west gate to Hill Air Force Base is pictured on Thursday, March 5, 2020. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Archeologists working for the Air Force at the Utah Test and Training Range found almost 100 prehistoric human footprints dating back thousands of years in the West Desert.

Cultural Resource Manager for Hill Air Force Base Anya Kitterman told KSL TV‘s Andrew Adams that the discovery came in the middle of a pilot program using ground penetrating radar and magnetometry to search for more artifacts.

“We found about 88 footprints. Mix of adults and children [footprints],” Kitterman said.

Researchers determined the tracks were that of adults and children who were walking through shallow water during the ice age.

Kitterman said that 10,000 years ago, the area was a marshland. The mud underneath the surface sand captured the footprints and maintained them all these years.

The footprints have only appeared now because there is just the right amount of ground moisture. The West Desert footprints are the second discovery of their kind.

“It’s only the second site here in the U.S. that we’ve identified footprints — especially at this age, which date to the Paleoindian Period to about 12,000 years ago,” Kitterman said.

The team working on the site said there may be much more to be found.

“Everyone is fully on board in preserving these remains, protecting these remains and minimizing any sort of impact we might have,” Kitterman said.

More information on the discovery can be found here.

Related: First photo of Joseph Smith may have been found in family heirloom

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Archeologists find prehistoric footprints in Utah’s West Desert