The first artifacts making up the collection were probably collected by Henry Montgomery, professor of natural history at the University of Utah. The earliest reference to the archaeology collection is found in the 1891 catalog for the University of Deseret (the original name of the University of Utah), which mentions "an archaeological collection, and much that may be classed under the heading of curiosities." The first substantial additions to the recent collections were made by Byron Cummings who was on the faculty between 1893 and 1915.
Other significant additions to the collection were made by University of Utah professors: Andrew Kerr (1922-1929), Julian Steward (1930-1933), John Gillian (1935-1937), Jesse Jennings (1948-1981), James O'Connell (1978 - ), and Duncan Metcalfe (1986 - ).
*Archaeology is the study of cultures through the examination of excavated sites and artifacts, a branch of anthropology.