Skip to main content
Intellect

Life in Utah Valley 1,000 years ago

Class excavates largest known structure from Fremont civilization

Through wind, dust and summer heat, a crew of BYU students unearthed a glimpse of what life was like in Utah Valley 1,000 years ago.

Led by anthropology professor James Allison and Mike Searcy, the students spent spring term excavating what appears to be the largest known structure belonging to the Fremont civilization.

Though small by today’s standards, the 800 square-foot structure served as a gathering place for a small village located near the mouth of Goshen Canyon in a settlement known as “Wolf Village.”

And those villagers left behind plenty of fascinating items: figurines, pipes, pots, game pieces carved from bone and marine shell pendants that made their way inland from the Pacific Coast through trade routes.

“It’s like a treasure hunt every day,” said Lauren Davis, a senior from Woodland, Washington. “I found a cool bone pendant with geometric patterns carved and painted onto it.”

Indeed, even when a south wind blasted tumbleweeds and dust at them on a recent outing, grad student Katie Richards triumphantly shouted as she found a pipe near a roof timber.

This particular excavation is Katie’s pride and joy because her crew found the building three years earlier after noticing a patch of ground that was conspicuously devoid of sage brush and other plants. While it was known that Fremont lived in that area, her crew had come across two remarkable discoveries: the first known adobe structure in Utah Valley, and a larger pit-style community building next door.

The floor of this larger structure sat about four feet below ground level and is still dotted with postholes.

“We know from historical records that Utah Valley was a major population center for the Fremont, yet we don’t know very much about the actual details of archaeology in Utah Valley,” Allison said. “We haven’t had very many opportunities anywhere in Fremont archaeology to look at this kind of structure to understand what role it played in community life and how the whole community is organized.”

The Fremont people that lived in Wolf Village grew corn, gathered other staples and hunted for both deer and smaller game. And the items found in this community building – jewelry, pipes, figurines and game pieces – suggest that it wasn’t all work and no play.

“We often assume that they were just eking out a tough life,” said Scott Ure, a grad student. “But they probably had time to create something artistic and enjoy leisure time.”

Related Articles

data-content-type="article"

BYU professor, partners create first-ever risk guide to help organizations safely adopt AI

June 20, 2024
Hoping to help companies of all sizes responsibly harness the power of AI while also managing its risks, professors from Brigham Young University, Arizona State University and the University of Duisburg-Essen have collaborated with software company Boomi and consulting firm Connor Group to create the first-ever enterprise risk framework for generative artificial intelligence.

overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

BYU-created water cycle resources adopted by USGS for nationwide use

June 18, 2024
The USGS, the nation’s largest water, earth and biological science agency, has tapped resources created by BYU to help teach school children coast-to-coast about water science in modern times. The new images, created by an interdisciplinary group of BYU scientists, educators and creatives, include a much-needed modernized version of the water cycle.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

I love to see the (LEGO) temple...

June 12, 2024
In the HBLL's Special Collections exhibit area there is a Lego exhibition with a uniquely gospel tie. From Lego recreations of paintings of the Savior to model replicas of iconic LDS temples, “Brick upon Brick: Creativity in the Making” is an exhibit like no other.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=