Utah Professional

Archaeological Council


1993: Vol 6 No 1

Utah Archaeology 1993, Volume 6, Number 1

Full Text of Issue



  • The Past as Commodity: Consultation and the Great Salt Lake Skeletons by Steven R. Simms
    Flooding of the Great Salt Lake exposed dozens of human remains beginning in 1987. A consultation process commenced to assess ownership, plan action, discuss scientific analyses, and seek state legislation for repatriation. This case study finds: consultation has no end, merely punctuations of decision; claimants to the past are myriad and dynamic; avocational and professional archaeologists must not be alienated from the process because without them more, not fewer Native American skeletons will be destroyed; relative to preservation, less value is placed on learning about the past, despite the fact that preservation has value only in light of potential knowledge to be gained; the most exciting analyses are those requiring modification of bone, and the most far-sighted stance is to stand up firmly for scientific study; burial vaults offer the best solution for curation, but unless costs are controlled, politicians will be unwilling to fund them.
  • What can Great Basin Archaeologists Learn from the study of Site Structure? An Ethnoarchaeological Perspective by James F. O’Connell
    Prehistoric site structure is commonly seen as a promising source of information about past human behavior. Ethnoarchaeological studies indicate that research on site structure may require costly adjustments in conventional approaches to data recovery, with no commensurate increase in real knowledge except under narrowly defined circumstances, none of which are common in the Great Basin. Nevertheless, it should still be pursued whenever possible, partly to assess the validity of predictions based on ethnoarchaeological analogies, partly (and probably more importantly) as a means of controlling differences in assemblage composition related to the widespread practice of size sorting in secondary refuse disposal.


  • Estimating Load Size in the Great Basin: Data from Conical Burden Baskets by K. Renee Barlow, Penny R. Henriksen, and Duncan Metcalfe
    Archaeologists working in the Great Basin have recently begun to investigate the costs and benefits associated with transporting plant resources and the probable effects of these costs and benefits on plant procurement strategies. Jones and Madsen (1989) predicted maximum expected transport distances for a variety of Great Basin resources, Zeanah (1992) evaluated the effects of transport costs on the optimal location of residential camps, and Barlow and Metcalfe (1995; Barlow 1990; see also Metcalfe and Barlow 1992) suggested that transport distance should determine the types and quantities of plant parts returned to camp by central place foragers. A critical assumption common to these models is that an individual’s success (calories per hour) in collecting resources and transporting them back to a base camp is constrained by the amount of resource that can be carried in a single load (Metcalfe and Barlow 1992; Orians and Pearson 1979). For food resources, the energetic benefit of a load is simply the amount of edible resource or calories in the transported load. Two variables determine this quantity: (1) the caloric value of the resource load per unit weight or volume, and (2) the weight or volume of a load of the resource. The caloric value of plant food per unit weight or volume varies between resources, and also with the proportions and caloric values of the different plant parts in the resource load.  Elsewhere two of us (Metcalfe and Barlow 1992) have suggested the circumstances in which foragers are expected to increase the caloric value of the transported load by field processing, or removing parts of relatively low utility at the resource patch. The other variable that determines the benefit gained by returning a load of resource to a central place is load size.
  • Why Should it Matter if I take another Potsherd? The Impacts of Contemporary Artifact Collecting at Anasazi Villages by William B. Fawcett
    During a recent survey of the Muddy Creek Orderville area in Kane County, Utah, a team from Utah State University encountered 20 Anasazi villages on which thousands of undecorated potsherds lay on the surface, but only a handful, if any, decorated sherds remained. We suspected that years of artifact collecting had stripped these sites of the decorated potsherds. This article examines a statistical method for estimating the impacts of collecting the decorated sherds from archaeological sites. First I examine the statistical relationship of decorated to undecorated potsherds at an excavated sample of Virgin Anasazi villages. The derived regression formula then is used to estimate the number of decorated sherds that once existed on the surface of 20 villages in the Muddy Creek-Orderville area. The accuracy of these estimates is supported by introducing other predictors of vandalism, developed in studies with more visible vandalism and interviews with collectors. I conclude with a discussion of ways to incorporate these findings into regional studies, directing the results in a positive fashion beyond another cautionary tale.
  • Fremont Corn Agriculture: A Pilot Stable Carbon Isotope Study by Joan Brenner Coltrain
    Great Basin archaeologists have long debated the role of com agriculture in Fremont subsistence. Standard approaches to dietary reconstruction, including plant macrofossil and pollen analyses, have proven inconclusive. Here I report the results of a recent stable carbon isotope study designed to address this issue. Results suggest that corn may have been an important component of Fremont diet in certain contexts.
  • Investigating the Spatial Structure of Lithic Scatter Sites from an Ethnoarchaeological Perspective: Examples from Utah and Nevada by Betsy L. Tipps
    Information derived from ethnoarchaeological studies of modem hunter-gatherer site structure can improve interpretations of shallow, open lithic scatters by helping us predict the types and locations of features, facilities, and refuse deposits that might be present on a site, select field methods that will adequately uncover extant site structure patterns, and better understand the function, duration of occupation, and occupational history of some lithic scatters. Data from one site in northern Nevada and one site in eastern Utah are used as examples of how information derived from ethnoarchaeological studies of hunter-gatherer site structure can improve archaeological site interpretations.
  • Salvage Excavations at the Fire Guard Hearth 42WB54 Weber County, Utah by Mark E. Stuart
    The purpose of this paper is to document the results of salvage excavations at the Fire Guard Hearth, 42Wb54 Weber County, Utah and report one of the first C14 dates from an upland site east of the Great Salt Lake. Excavation of this feature was undertaken by the Promontory/Tubaduka Chapter of the Utah Statewide Archaeological Society as part of their ongoing research into the archaeology of the Great Salt Lake region of Northern Utah. The project was under the direction of Dr. Bill Fawcett of Utah State University with Mark Stuart serving as field supervisor. Chapter members who participated were Gary and Carl DeMastrie, Bill and Sara Yates, Steve Hansen, Ann Cornell, Jason Jones, Lisa Pringle, Richard James, and Sarah Halverson. They donated a total of 45 hours in the completion of this project. Their labor of love is greatly appreciated.
  • Running Antelope: A Paleoindian Site in Northern Utah by Dann J. Russell
    The Western-Stemmed Tradition of lanceolate projectile points is represented by a variety of styles. One style of this tradition is called a Haskett. The purpose of this report is to present information on a recently discovered Paleoindian site containing this style of the Western-Stemmed Tradition, next to present information on Haskett points and site locations where they have been found, and then to speculate on the value and relationship of this new site to these other Haskett sites.
  • Some Enigmatic Stations of the Pony Express and Overland Stage between Salt Lake City and Nevada by David M. Jabusch and Susan C. Jabusch

    Since its inception in 1860, the Pony Express has been an important part of the opening of the west to the American public. However, prior to the 1970s, there was little serious scholarly work on it. In conjunction with the nation’s bicentennial, several serious studies were conducted in the 1970s, including Bluth (1978), Fike and Headley (1979) and Berge (1980).


  • Cultural Affiliation and Age of the Broadbent Cache Site by Alan R. Schroedl
    In a recent Utah Archaeology, Broadbent (1992) describes a cache site in Daggett County, Utah, that contained 39 projectile points and 1 biface. These artifacts were apparently stored as a cache in one of the cracks in a large rock outcrop in a rockshelter in a high mountain valley near Sheep Creek at about 8,280 ft. The artifacts were analyzed and measured by James C. Wood and Gene Titmus who apparently did not offer any typological identification. Broadbent suggests that these points might be typeable as the Sand Dune Side-notched type (Geib and Ambler 1991; Tipps and Hewitt 1989). Although there are some superficial similarities between the Broadbent cache points and the Sand Dune Side-notched points, the points from the cache are not morphologically similar to Sand Dune Side-notched points. The Sand Dune Side-notched point, an Early Archaic point type, is generally narrower, smaller, and more symmetrical, and appears to be geographically restricted to the highly dissected Canyonlands section of the Colorado Plateau in southern Utah and northern Arizona (Betsy L. Tipps, personal communication 1993). Morphologically, the projectile points pictured by Broadbent (1992:Figure 4) are best classified as Mount Albion Corner-notched points, the defining point type for the Mount Albion Complex centered in the southern Rocky Mountains province (Benedict1978a).


  • Games of the North American Indians Volume 1: Games of Chance, and Games of the North American Indians Volume 2: Games of Skill, reviewed by Robert B. Kohl
  • Of Blood and Stone: Investigations into Southeastern Utah Archaic, reviewed by Robert B. Kohl
  • The Sagebrush Ocean: A Natural History of the Great Basin, reviewed by David M. Jabusch
  • Northern Anasazi Ceramic Style: A Field Guide for Identification, reviewed by Mark Bond
  • The Main Ridge Community at Lost City: Virgin Anasazi Architecture, Ceramics, and Burials, reviewed by Douglas A. McFadden
  • Quest for the Origins of the First Americans, reviewed by Roy McPherson
  • The Desert’s Past: A Natural Prehistory of the Great Basin, reviewed by Dave N. Schmitt