An Undergrad's Perspective on Archaeology, Academia and Anything Else

Posts tagged “energy farms

Progress vs. Preservation

Recently I read an article posted on Past Horizons detailing the ensuing battle between Native American conservationists in Southern California (my home) and Blythe Solar over the construction of a massive solar farm. Specifically:

Blythe Solar, a partnership of Chevron and the German firm Solar Millennium will grade and level 9500 acres of desert in an area near to the Blythe giant intaglios. It is also feared that a 200-foot-long image of the flute-playing Native American god Kokopelli – the BLM believe this geoglyph to be relatively modern – will come under threat, and although about a mile away from the proposed the site, it is almost inevitable that the solar facility will impact the visual setting and it is feared that the area will become fenced off and out of reach.


















Archaeologically, the preservation of archaeological sites are of utmost importance to me, no matter their location. In particular, these glyphs are an untapped public outreach resource. Coming from Southern California I know most people view the Native American culture there as primitive people in huts that sometimes took primitive rafts out to the islands to hunt and fish. If more people knew about these impressive glyphs in their proverbial backyard they might have more appreciation for the local culture. Though, I must point out that according the article the glyphs won’t be destroyed, but the “visual setting” will be destroyed, not ideal but not a horrible outcome.

On the other hand, the construction of massive solar farms is from a societal prospective a large move in the right direction for sustainable energy. These complexes’ construction might not be beneficial towards the environment but the electricity they produce from the sun offsets tons of toxic emissions from “dirty” energy sources. As pollution ruins other archaeological sites around the world, how can archaeologists rebuke companies who are attempting to take a “green” choice?

The solution, to me, is a case by case evaluation of a site’s “value” versus the necessity of a site’s construction at that location and value of the construction. Not to mention getting a big company like Chevron to promote the glyph’s existence there to bring people to see the solar farm AND the glyph.

Everybody wins?