Utah Professional

Archaeological Council


1992: Vol 5 No 1

Utah Archaeology 1992, Volume 5, Number 1

 Full Text of Issue


  • Message from the Editors by Joel C. Janetski and Robert B. Kohl


  • The Lobed-Circle Image in the Basketmaker Petroglyphs of Southeastern Utah by Steven James Manning
    In the Anasazi Basketmaker area of southeastern Utah there exists a distinctive, enigmatic, petroglyphic image that has often been discussed, but not identified. The image consists of a round-to-oval shape from which there is a rounded-rectangular extension or lobe. The shape exists both in the rock art and in physical objects. A method for determining theoretical interpretation for rock art images is proposed and then applied to arrive at a meaning for the image. The image occurs in a variety of contexts that suggest the image is associated with fertility. It is proposed that the image is a representation of a uterus. Further, Southwestern architecture has an overall form nearly identical to the lobed-circle image. This suggests the existence of ideological ties between the shape of these structures and the uterine image. The analysis also suggests that many rock art panels are mythological in nature.
  • Finding A Date: Some Thoughts on Radiocarbon Dating and the Baker Fremont Site in Eastern Nevada by James D. Wilde
    Conventional radiocarbon dating is a standard procedure in archaeology. It is a straightforward technique of counting radioactive particle emissions from the nucleus of unstable carbon isotopes and using the average number of emissions to calculate time elapsed since an organism died. Its use in archaeological contexts requires much care and thought because many factors of contamination, old wood, fractionation, and context can skew the results. In addition, its statistical nature keeps it less precise than most archaeologists would like. I explore the nature of conventional radiocarbon age assessment and ways of making it more precise by analyzing ten C14 age assays from a Fremont structural site near Baker, Nevada. The suite of ages suggests that the site was occupied in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. High quality corn ages, however, suggest that its major occupation occurred during the thirteenth century, and that it was probably used into the fourteenth century.
  •  The Fremont: A View from Southwest Wyoming by Craig S. Smith
    Examining the archaeological record at the boundary between traditional archaeological cultures, especially those of different subsistence adaptations, can provide new insights concerning cultural behavior.  Archaeological excavations at 48Ut199 and 48Sw97 have provided an opportunity to examine the relationship between the partly horticultural Fremont of the northern Colorado Plateau and eastern Great Basin, and the hunters and gatherers of southwest Wyoming during the Late Prehistoric period (1,500-650 B.P.). Investigations at these and other sites in southwest Wyoming have yielded apparent Fremont pottery together with the remains of typical southwest Wyoming hunter and gatherer campsites. These sites may represent camps of hunters and gatherers coming into the southwest Wyoming area from the south and west to obtain food, especially bison. The information from southwest Wyoming provides additional evidence concerning the diversity of the Fremont and suggests that fairly mobile hunting and gathering was included among the wide range of adaptive strategies followed by the Fremont.


  • Late Basketmaker Archaeology on the Middle Virgin River, Washington County, Utah by Shane A. Baker and Lorna Beth Billat
    During the early part of 1987, the Office of Public Archaeology (OPA) at Brigham Young University (BYU) completed a data recovery program at five archaeological sites along the Virgin River in Washington County, Utah. The project area lies in the heart of the Virgin Anasazi Culture area, a region that can still be characterized as poorly understood. The work completed by BYU on the State Route 9 (SR-9) Project contributed crucial data at a time when a number of significant projects were coming to completion in the region. This surge of research included several projects completed during the late 1970s and early 1980s, which together constitute the first substantial investigation of Virgin Anasazi riverine sites to be conducted since the 1960s. These include investigations at the Red Cliffs Site (Dalley and McFadden 1985), Greensprings (Westfall et al. 1987), the Little Man Sites (Dalley and McFadden 1988), and a number of sites in the Quail Creek Reservoir project area (Walling et al. 1986). The SR9 Project sites add an important piece to this growing picture of prehistoric adaptations in the St. George Basin and surrounding area.
  • Archaeological Sites around a Dry Lake in Southwestern Utah by Roy Macpherson
    Archaeological sites dating to the late Paleo-Indian or early Archaic period have been recorded in numerous locations in the Great Basin in association with ancient playa or dry lake features (Aikens and Madsen 1986; Copeland and Fike 1988). Interest in sites of this age led to the investigation of a southern portion of Tule Valley in southwest central Utah because of its geographical similarity to pre-Archaic sites in eastern Nevada (Willig and Aikens 1988; Beck and Jones 1988; Hutchinson 1988; Price and Johnston 1988) and its proximity to the well-studied, pre-Archaic site 42Md300 (Simms and Lindsay 1989) in the lower Sevier Valley. This specific area was surveyed because the U.S. Geological Survey maps indicated a small depression or dry lake bed at an elevation of 5,180 ft, which is above the highest level of Lake Bonneville (Currey et al. 1984). Although the dry lake associated sites reported here cannot be specifically classified as pre-Archaic because of lack of diagnostic artifacts or datable materials, the sites have useful archaeological information.
  • Deformity and Left Hip Fusion in a Prehistoric Great Basin Skeleton by Carol J. Loveland, Denise Furlong, and John B. Greg
    Medical doctors writing in the nineteenth century documented many cases of a condition that frequently caused hip joint destruction and the fusion (ankylosis) of the patient’s hip and femur. In these reports inflammatory hip joint disease, with or without fusion, was usually ascribed to trauma, a birth defect, pus forming bacterial infection, or tuberculosis (Bryant 1873; Dorsey 1813; Erichsen 1878; Gibson 1827; Good 1829; Keen and White 1893; Kellogg 1905). Senior orthopedists (Robert VanDemark, personal communication 1990) and surgeons (Howard Shreves, personal communication 1990), who practiced during the pre- and early antibiotic era, describe the severe pain experienced by individuals affected by inflammatory hip disease. Affected individuals often drastically modified their posture in an attempt to alleviate their pain, and, in the process, many have induced permanent skeletal deformity. Despite the frequent mention of hip deformity and fusion in early medical literature, surprisingly few cases are described in paleopathology literature, and only one other case has been reported from the New World (Bennike 1985; Bennike et al. 1986; Bennike and Bro-Rasmussen 1989; Janssens 1989; Jarcho et al. 1963; Ortner and Putschar 1981). This paper reports the first instance of spontaneous extensive hip joint destruction and bony fusion (ankylosis) in a pre-Columbian skeleton from the Great Basin.
  • Salvage Excavations at the Burch Creek Site 42WB76 Weber County, Utah by Mark E. Stuart
    In March of 1988, members of the Promontory-Tubaduka Chapter of the Utah Statewide Archaeological Society (USAS) tested an open sand dune site on private land in South Ogden City, Weber County, Utah. The project conducted under the direction of Dr. Steve Simms and Ms. Pam Higgins of Weber State University, focused on areas of the site being destroyed by construction activities. Earlier survey work by chapter member Mark Stuart, noted both Fremont and Late Prehistoric artifacts. A Pinto point and a Humboldt point hinted that the site may contain Archaic materials as well. A preliminary report of these excavations has been published in the UPAC Newsletter (Stuart 1988) and a final site report published by the Promontory-Tubaduka Chapter of USAS (Stuart et al. 1992) is on file with the Division of State History, Antiquities Section, Salt Lake City.


  • Human Scalps from Eastern Utah by Julie Howard and Joel C. Janetski
    Over the past several years the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Moab and the Museum of Peoples and Cultures at Brigham Young University (BYU) have obtained collections of prehistoric materials that include human scalps. These items have come from both the Uinta Basin and the Moab area of eastern Utah. Similarities in the scalps and associated material cultural suggest regional affinities, perhaps with the Southwest. The function of these important but highly sensitive artifacts is unknown at the moment, although intriguing insights are available in the ethnographic literature on the Pueblos.
  • An Atlatl from Snow Canyon State Park by David B. Madsen
    In early January 1985, hikers discovered the partial remains of a human burial and an associated wooden artifact in a lava tube in Snow Canyon, Washington County, Utah. The burial was sent to the Office of the Medical Examiner for analysis and the artifact was forwarded to the Antiquities Section for examination. Since the artifact is a virtually complete atlatl and the number of atlatls from Utah are rather rare, I here report the limited amount of descriptive information available from these analyses.
  • An Unprovenienced Split-Twig Figurine from Cowboy Cave by Nancy J. Coulam
    This note describes a split-twig, animal figurine found eroding from the back dirt of Cowboy Cave by patrolling National Park Service Maze District rangers. Split-twig figurines are constructed of a single, long, thin twig or branch that is split down the middle, bent, and folded to create a miniature animal. They were first discovered in the Grand Canyon, where they were believed to be associated with Early Archaic Pinto points, but analysis of Cowboy Cave demonstrated that, at least in the Green River region, split-twig figurines are associated with Gypsum points and the Late Archaic (Schroedl 1976, 1977).
  • The Broadbent Cache Site by Lora Broadbent
    In September 2, 1989, Arden and Lora Broadbent were camped in the Ashley National Forest west of Flaming Gorge Reservoir in an unnamed valley by some perennial springs. Nearby was a long ridge of sandstone outcroppings. During the course of observing deer habitat, the Broadbents discovered an unusual cache of 35 large, side-notched, stemmed projectile points hidden in crannies in a small rockshelter in the outcroppings. The purpose of this paper is to document this rare and unusual cache of projectile points.
  • Harpoons from Utah Lake by Ron Martin and Joel C. Janetski
    Information about prehistoric fishing gear has been relatively scarce for the eastern Great Basin including Utah Valley where fishing has been described as an important activity (Janetski 1990, however, see Hunter 1991). This paper describes several bone harpoons that have been collected from archaeological sites in Utah Valley by members of the Utah County Chapter of the Utah Statewide Archaeological Society. The following section briefly describes each of the sites where the artifacts were collected as well as the harpoons from those sites.
  • An Obsidian Cache from the Great Salt Lake Wetlands, Weber County, Utah by Ann Cornell, Mark E. Stuart, and Steven R. Simms
    A cache of 88 primary and secondary obsidian flakes was excavated from a small subsurface pit at a Late Prehistoric site near the edge of the Great Salt Lake north west of Ogden, Utah. The site was discovered by the two lead authors and excavated by them during investigations sponsored by Utah State University. Here we describe the site context, excavation findings, lab analysis, and chemical sourcing of the obsidian. Information on similar caches is also provided, and the implications for interpreting past life in the Great Salt Lake marshes are briefly discussed.
  • Antiquities Section, Utah Division of State History, List of Reports with 1992 Project Numbers by Evelyn Seelinger and Kevin T. Jones
    All organizations who conduct archaeological projects in the state are obliged to: (1) obtain a project number from the Antiquities Section, Division of State History and (2) submit a report on the work done. The following is a list of reports received by the Antiquities Section, for projects with 1992 project numbers. These reports are on file, and are available to qualified researchers.


  •  Slide Showmanship, reviewed by Robert B. Kohl
  •  Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, reviewed by Robert B. Kohl