Utah Professional

Archaeological Council


2014: Vol 27 No 1

Utah Archaeology 2014 Volume 27, Number 1

Full Text of Issue will be posted once the 2016 journal has been published



Message from the Editor

The archaeology of Utah is alive and well. Development has continued to fuel archaeological discovery, and academic institutions within the state carry on the tradition of longitudinal research. Very few archaeological projects may ever measure up to the “mega” status of the Glen Canyon Archaeological Project associated with the creation of Lake Powell, but much dirt has been moved recently to uncover some of Utah’s treasured historic and prehistoric resources. This issue contains five invited articles whose main purpose is to provide an overview of several large-scale projects carried out in Utah over the last five to ten years. The research was originally presented at the 2014 Utah Professional Archaeological Council’s winter meeting at Weber State University and was expanded for this issue. These contributions, along with the first article in the Avocationalist Corner since 2010, provide descriptive insights and represent the diversity of archaeology in our region of the world.


Prehistoric Archaeology in Range Creek Canyon, Utah: A Summary of Activities of the

Range Creek Field Station by Shannon Arnold Boomgarden, Duncan Metcalfe, and Corinne Springer

Range Creek Canyon is a rugged and remote, mid-elevation canyon in the West Tavaputs Plateau, Utah. The canyon has received much attention because of its remarkably intact record of an intense Fremont occupation from A.D. 900 to 1200. To date, 470 sites have been recorded with only a fraction of the canyon having been surveyed. The University of Utah has held its Archaeological Field School in Range Creek Canyon annually since 2003. This article focuses on the results and direction of research at the University of Utah’s Range Creek Field Station, which was established in 2009 for the long-term study, management, and preservation of this rich archaeological resource. Ongoing projects include survey, subsurface testing, experimental farming, wild plant procurement, and paleoenvironmental studies.

Wolf Village (42UT273): A Case Study in Fremont Architectural Variability by Lindsay D. Johansson, Katie K. Richards, and James R. Allison

The Brigham Young University archaeological field school has spent five field seasons excavating at Wolf Village (42UT273), a large Fremont site in Utah Valley. Wolf Village is a blend of typical Fremont architectural traits and unique or rare characteristics. This blending is exemplified in the two adobe surface structures, which are the only well-documented adobe structures in Utah Valley; the residential pit structures, which include features such as multiple ventilation entrances and are abnormally large; and the 80.5 m² pit structure, which is the largest Fremont structure found to date and was likely used for communal activities. Despite the differences in construction, radiocarbon dating suggests that all these structures date to a relatively short time period in the A.D. 1000s. Exploring architectural traits and variation at Wolf Village and other Fremont sites gives new insights into community and interaction within the Fremont world.

Fremont Use of Dune Environments in Western Utah by David T. Yoder

A number of sites found in the dunes and around the playas of western Utah are characterized by surface scatters of lithics, ceramics, ground stone, fire-cracked rock, and occasional soil staining. Seven such sites with ephemeral structures were excavated and reported between 1980 and 2010. While five of the seven were multicomponent, they were most intensively utilized during the Formative Period. Comparison of site location, artifacts, and features indicate each was used for short-term occupations primarily focused on foraging small seeds and animals, and that sites in dune environments played an important role in the subsistence and land use practices of prehistoric groups.

Virgin Anasazi Archaeology and the Southern Parkway Project by Melanie A. Medeiros and Jocelyn Bernatchez

In 2011, as part of the Utah Department of Transportation’s Southern Parkway project, William Self Associates, Inc., conducted data recovery at six sites located within 2 km of each other on a southern terrace of the Virgin River. Together, these sites, which include five habitations and one rockshelter, represent discontinuous occupations spanning a large portion of the Virgin Anasazi sequence, from the Basketmaker II (300 B.C.–A.D. 400) through Pueblo II (A.D. 1000–1150) periods. The heaviest period of use along the terrace appears to be from late Basketmaker III through early Pueblo I. This data is particularly important in light of the paucity of published excavation data and secure radiometric dates for the region. The project provides a unique opportunity to examine localized Virgin Anasazi spatial and behavioral patterns, and a chance to make broader-scale contributions to our understanding of the Virgin Anasazi in the St. George Basin.

“Ye People of Provo, Build That House”: The Original Provo Tabernacle and the

Building of a City in Zion by Ryan W. Saltzgiver

During the winter of 2011–2012, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and Office of Public Archaeology (OPA) at Brigham Young University (BYU) conducted archaeological explorations in urban Provo, Utah. The purpose of the research was to uncover and document the extant remains of the Original or Old Provo Tabernacle (OPT; 42UT1844). As an example of a dynamic, full-scale investigation of the archaeology of the historical past of Utah County, the excavation of the OPT in historic downtown Provo, Utah, was among the most important recent archaeological projects in the state. OPT was a salvage project designed to record a site associated with the early settlement of Utah County by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) prior to its destruction, but the project also revealed an intense and ongoing public interest in archaeological projects. This article presents an overview of the project—including its tragic impetus with the December 2010 burning of the (second) Provo Tabernacle—as well as a historical overview of the building. Included are a preliminary summation of results and a brief analysis of the artifacts recovered, with some discussion of the significance of these objects to the early LDS community in the area and the region.


What Meaneth These Green Stones? Variscite Use in the Great Salt Lake Region by Mark E. Stuart

Variscite is occasionally found in archaeological excavations in Northern Utah. Not much is known about this green stone used for ornaments. It is similar to turquoise and sometimes mistaken for it. Archaeologists have called for more study of this stone. This paper hopefully adds some information to this study.


“The Prehistory of Gold Butte: A Virgin River Hinterland, Clark County, Nevada.” Review by Mark Karpinski