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Plains Relationships of the Fremont Culture: A Hypothesis

  • C. Melvin Aikens (a1)

Data from recent excavations in central, northern, and northeastern Utah, and in the southwestern Wyoming Basin, have prompted a reevaluation of current concepts of the ethnic and cultural origins of the Fremont culture centered in Utah, of its relationships to the Promontory culture of northern Utah, and of the relationship of both these cultures to protohistoric Central Plains culture.

The long-standing interpretation of the Fremont as a northern “peripheral” variant of the Southwestern Anasazi culture is discarded, and a hypothesis of a Northwestern Plains (probably Athabaskan) population partially acculturated to the Anasazi Pueblo pattern is proposed. Additionally, identity of the so-called Promontory culture with the northern Utah variant of the Fremont culture is postulated on evidence from sites in northern Utah. It is suggested that the Fremont culture drifted back onto the Central Plains around approximately A.D. 1400-1600, under pressure from the Shoshonean expansion out of the Great Basin, to become the forerunner of the Dismal River culture, which has been attributed to the Athabaskan Plains Apache.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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