Utah Professional

Archaeological Council


1989: Vol 2 No 1

Utah Archaeology 1989, Volume 2, Number 1

Full Text of Issue


  • Message from the Editors by Joel C. Janetski and Steven J. Manning


  • Giving Form to the Formative: Shifting Settlement Patterns in the Eastern Great Basin and Northern Colorado Plateau by Richard K. Talbot and James D. Wilde
    Analysis of over sixty radiocarbon and tree-ring dates from structures at Five Finger Ridge, in central Utah, suggests that periods of increased and decreased building and occupational activity characterized the history of the site. Similar analysis of dates from reported Fremont sites in Utah, Colorado, and Nevada shows nearly identical patterns, representing periods of increased and decreased human settlement activity throughout the Fremont area. This temporal pattern is translated into a spatial analysis of settlement, showing periods of aggregation and disaggregation at particular sites. In addition, the patterns provide evidence of expansion and contraction of long-term occupation sites from a central “core area” along the Great Basin/Colorado Plateau Transition Zone. This diachronic view of flux in Formative settlement patterns provides a new perspective of Fremont culture history and socio-economic adaptations.
  • Redefining Fremont Subsistence by Nancy D. Sharp
    Both description and explanation of Fremont subsistence have proved elusive for several reasons, including the typological emphasis of earlier approaches, and a lack of reliable subsistence data from Fremont sites. Recently developed theoretical and analytical frameworks establish the relevance of extant faunal data to understanding Fremont subsistence, and the possibility of more detailed interpretation and comparison of Fremont faunal exploitation. These positive developments are balanced by increasing awareness of the range of cultural, taphonomic, and recovery processes affecting faunal assemblages. The problems and potential of current approaches are illustrated by comparison of faunal data from 17 Fremont sites, and an examination of the small artiodactyl assemblage from Nawthis Village in central Utah.

  • Implications of Early Bow Use in Glen Canyon by Phil R. Geib and Peter W. Bungart
    The concept of a Proto-Fremont, terminal Archaic culture is proposed to distinguish in situ populations occupying portions of the northern Colorado Plateau from contemporaneous, but culturally unrelated, Basketmaker II populations of the southern Colorado Plateau.  One key difference between these groups was early (ca. A.D. 100) use of the bow by the ancestral Fremont, while the ancestral Anasazi continued to employ the atlatl.  The time lag for diffusion of bow technology to the Anasazi could be attributable to competitive relationships. The bow might have been the competitive advantage that allowed local ancestral Fremont populations to maintain occupancy of their traditional territories in the face of expanding Basketmaker II agriculturalists. In order to understand the Archaic-Formative transition on the northern Colorado Plateau, it is important to know whether local Archaic populations existed at the time that agriculture was introduced.  The processes involved in this transition and the particular nature of its historical expression depends on whether farming was transferred to Archaic populations or involved the spread of cultural systems already somewhat dependent on agriculture.


  • Bone Whistles of Northern Utah by Dann J. Russell
    The Great Salt Lake Fremont peoples made extensive use of the bone refuse from various wild game they hunted as is evident from the numerous bone awls and other tools that have been recovered. Knives and saws made from deer and mountain sheep scapulae are also fairly common, although they are rare in other parts of the state. In addition, Great Salt Lake Fremont sites are somewhat unusual in that they contain large numbers of bison and waterfowl bones. From the latter the Fremont made bone whistles, an artifact considered to be characteristic of this variant (Marwitt 1970:145).
  • 42MD300, An Early Holocene Site in the Sevier Desert by Steven R. Simms and La Mar W. Lindsay
    Two radiocarbon dates retrieved in 1985 from 42Md300, a site in the Sevier Desert of western Utah (Figures 1 and 2), indicate that typologically early cultural material was probably deposited between 7,700 and 9,500 years ago and possibly between 7,710 – 10,430 years ago.  The significance of 42Md300 has been well established, and validated by inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. However, when the site was nominated its chronology was entirely dependent on typological cross-dating.  Given the broad time span suggested by the artifacts from the site, some attempt to obtain absolute ages seemed appropriate prior to more intensive investigation. This paper reports on fieldwork conducted in 1985 by Simms, which was designed to ascertain bracketing ages for the cultural material at the site. All the material appeared to be eroding from one stratigraphic zone which suggested the possibility of obtaining samples of shell and sediment for radiocarbon dating from deposits bracketing the level of origin of the cultural material.

  • The Lime Ridge Clovis Site by William E. Davis
    In 1985 Abajo Archaeology conducted archaeological investigations at the Lime Ridge Clovis site, located 15 kilometers southwest of Bluff, Utah. The site, designated 42SA16857, is the first known Clovis Utah site on the northern Colorado Plateau documented with chronologically distinctive artifacts (W. Davis and Brown 1986; Green 1978).

  • Sandy Ridge: An Aceramic Habitation Site In Southeastern Utah by Lane D. Richens and Richard K. Talbot
    The Sandy Ridge site (42Sa18500) is located in the northeastern portion of Dry Valley, south of Moab, Utah and the La Sal Mountains, at an elevation of 1,860 m (6,100 feet). This area is dominated by low sage and grasses, with pinyon and junipers abundant only around mesa edges and on mesa tops. The site was first encountered in 1987 during seismic exploration in the area. While cutting a road down a high narrow ridge top extending outward from a high and imposing, steep-walled sandstone mesa (Figures 1 and 2), the bulldozer operator noticed a small metate fragment and very light ash-staining in the cut. An archaeologist from the Office of Public Archaeology (OPA) at Brigham Young University visited and recorded the site. Two small test pits were dug into the ash-stained area to confirm cultural depth. Upon receipt of an ARPA permit in late spring, 1988, excavation was initiated at the site. Ultimately, excavation revealed a rather large circular pit house containing at least one very large bell-shaped pit and several small subfloor pits. A large, partially slab-lined hearth was also present as were numerous artifacts. Macrobotanical samples retrieved from the floor and subfloor features indicated high percentages of Cheno-Ams and another plant type tentatively identified as St. Johnswort. In addition, charcoal samples submitted for radiocarbon dating indicated that occupation occurred at about A.D. 200.

  • A Preliminary Report of Archaeological Excavations at Antelope Cave and Rock Canyon Shelter, Northwestern Arizona by Joel C. Janetski and James D. Wilde
    Archaeological research on the Arizona Strip generally and the Uinkaret Plateau specifically has been sparse (see Altschul and Fairley n.d. and Westfall 1987 for reviews). The reasons for this are not clear but are likely related to the geographical and political isolation of the region. The majority of the recent work done in this portion of the Arizona Strip has been survey related to development activities such as transmission line and road construction (e.g., Davis 1982; Moffitt et al. 1978; Wade 1967) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) surveys related to mineral and range programs (Aline LaForge, personal communication 1989). Excavations at Antelope Cave have been the exception (see section below on Antelope Cave). In 1983 Brigham Young University (BYU) entered into a cooperative agreement with the BLM, Arizona Strip District, to assess several sites deemed significant by BLM personnel and to complete analyses of data recovered from Antelope Cave in the 1950s.  Research interests behind these investigations consisted of fundamental questions related to chronology, subsistence and settlement. The tests at Antelope Cave and Rock Canyon Shelter have been made under this ongoing agreement and with these general issues in mind. The data presented here are preliminary only. Complete data sets and stratigraphic profiles will be included in the final reports currently in preparation.

  • The Practical Archaeologist and the Archaeologists Handbook, reviewed by Robert B. Kohl