Students participated in the archaeology field school at a Fremont Indian site in west Provo that professor Michael Searcy has been investigating for the past two years. The site includes a traditional Fremont pit house, an adobe-walled building, and other structures, but covers just a portion of the Fremont's expansive village.
Civilizations in the area have been dated as far back as 1000 B.C., but the Fremont occupied this site sometime between the 8th and 13th centuries. Students have uncovered arrowheads and other relics from this time period that classify the Fremont as corn farmers, bird hunters and fishermen.
The dig is noteworthy also for the technology developed specifically for the project. Students used drones to document the excavation site and tablets to catalog artifacts and record observations on an app designed by computer science students. The data was linked among the researchers by the excavation site's own wireless network. But the site required no external power source-solar panels charged all the devices and maintained the server.
The field school is part of BYU's holistic archaeology program that includes field preparation, excavation, lab analysis and a senior thesis. The program ensures that graduates leave with actual experience making discoveries and writing reports.