The Decline of Fremont Material Culture

There is sharp decrease in Formative assemblages throughout the Fremont region after approximately AD 1200, followed by the disappearance of Fremont material culture by approximately A. D. 1400 (Massimino and Metcalfe 1999; Talbot and Wilde 1989). This development is generally attributed either to regional abandonment (Aikens 1966; Wormington 1955), the displacement or absorption of Fremont peoples by immigrating hunter-gatherers (Aikens 1972; Steward 1933), generally called the “Numic Expansion,” a local abandonment of agriculture and return to more mobile, hunter-gatherer lifeways (e.g., Rudy 1953; cf. Barlow 1997:196), or some combination of these processes (e.g., Berry 1974; Jennings 1978).

This is one of the most dramatic and complex transitions in the Fremont Culture Region, yet it is poorly understood (see summaries in Janetski 1994; Madsen and Simms 1998). Artifact assemblages in Range Creek suggest that as many as a half dozen pithouse villages, and at least as many granary sites, may date to the post-1200 period, and may be associated with increased sedentism and increased change or exchange with peoples from neighboring regions (Barlow 2004; Spangler et al. 2004). The potential to tree-ring date these sites, and possibly develop new hypotheses about the late Prehistoric transition in the Fremont region, represents an unprecedented opportunity.






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