Some experts regard the Fremont people as a northern branch of the famous Anazai Culture found in NV, AZ, Colorado and New Mexico.
I list the Fremont culture sites I have visited in Utah and relate many of the research findings concerning this group of farmer/hunter gatherers. Many of the features of this society are similar to other tribes in the Southwest however the Fremont Culture had some distinctive art and studied the stars and constellations.
The history of the Anasazi Indian Culture in the Southwestern United States Is really cool and mysterious. These were the farming, hunter gatherers that live in first pueblo style housing and then toward the end of the culture, they engineered cliff dwellings for protection from warring neighbors. The Anasazi ruins (abandoned villages) are found in Nevada from the Virgin River to Red Rock Canyon, thru Colorado at Mesa Verde to many areas of Arizona and even to the Rio Grande River Valley in New Mexico and Texas. The big mystery is how and why did this culture vanish in abut 1300 BC. Let’s talk about the disappearance of the culture in a future blog, this blog is about the Fremont branch of the culture.
The Fremont culture folks’ ruins and artifacts are mostly found in the present day state of Utah.The southern extent of the Fremont Culture was in the area north of the present day Grand Canyon National Park. The northern, eastern and western boundaries for this culture were variable but follow closely the border of present day Utah. The first time I visited a Fremont site was on a visit to Vernal, Utah. We were there to tour the Dinosaur National Monument on the Green River where Utah and Colorado’s borders meet. Near Vermal the remnants of the Fremont folks are rock art found on the same acreage that covers the fossilized remains of some fantastic and mysterious dinosaurs such as stegosaurus and several sauropod species that were preserved in the rocks of the Green River Valley long before the Amerindians colonized this area. The evidence of the Fremont Folks in this area may have been seasonal camping sites rather than permanent villages. I will keep an eye on any new research on the area and let you know in future bogs.
The petroglyphs of the Fremont culture are slightly different than most Anasazi rock art from sites in Arizona and Nevada. The crops raised where in Utah were: maize (corn), beans, pumpkins and cotton. The villages raised their own turkeys and hunted for deer, bighorn sheep, rabbits and many kinds of small critters. The remains of these food items are found during excavations of hunting camps and villages. Cultivated crops were irrigated when sufficient water was available. Village sites were usually located where water and game were easily found.
One of these archaeological excavated sites of the Fremont people is located along the Utah/Nevada border in north Utah. It is the Baker site just east of the Great Basin National Park of Nevada. The village of Baker, Nevada is the headquarters for the National Park Service and the only site that the BLM researchers utilized when they excavated the Baker Archaeological site. The Baker Site is a small village of pueblos that may have had building edges aligned with with celestial bodies during the seasonal Equinox and may have helped in determining planting time for crops or seasonal ceremonies. They unearthed artifacts that showed the artistic abilities of the members of this village. There were decorative necklaces found that were finely crafted and made from the local shale rock.
Many other sites in Utah have ruins, village remains and hunting camp sites. But the best site to learn about the Fremont Culture may well be the Utah State Park which concentrates on the history and artifacts of this culture. The Park is called the Fremont Indian State Park and is south of Richfield, Utah along I-70. There are twelve interpretive trails with pictographs, petroglyphs and archaeological sites along the routes.These trails are really great ways to learn about the Fremont Folks and are wheelchair accessible. There is a museum and visitor center to give details about the life of the Fremont people it is open year round.