Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. I was born and now resides in Afton,
Wyoming, which is near Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons—a landmark
for Indians and Mountain Men. The majority of Mountains of Stone
was written deep in the Greys River mountains near the Strawberry Indian
trail from Jackson Hole and the Tetons to the Snake River plains. By
horse and pack string, I have ridden many of the trails described in
Mountains of Stone
Mountains of Stone. My campfires have been built in the same places as those of Mountain Men and explorers one hundred and ninety years ago. This has been my passion.
My friend Mr. Conner asked if I would share some of my ventures talked about in several of my books and I agreed.
O. N. Eddins
Fremont Indians 400 A.D. –1350 A.D
Fremont is the name given to diverse groups of Native American Indians inhabiting the western Colorado Plateau and the eastern Great Basin area from 400 A.D. to 1350 A.D.. The Fremont Indians were hunter-gathers, and may have spoken different languages, or widely divergent dialects (Madsen). The Fremont Indians occupied this desolate land several hundred years before the first Europeans arrived in America.
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Archeologists use four distinctive artifact categories to distinguish the Fremont Indian Culture from the Anasazi or Ancestral Puebloans (Madsen):
A question still unanswered is where did the Fremont Indians come from?
Dr. Jesse D. Jennings summarized his views on the Desert Culture (Desert Archaic) model at the Leigh Lecture at the University of Utah in 1975 (Janetski):
A new archeological study area along Range Creek in the Book Cliff
Mountains of Utah will contribute a great deal of information on the
Fremont Indian Culture. Protected for over fifty years by Waldo Wilcox, a
Utah rancher, the Uinta Fremont villages along Range Creek are virtually
A new archeological study area along Range Creek in the Book Cliff Mountains of Utah will contribute a great deal of information on the Fremont Indian Culture. Protected for over fifty years by Waldo Wilcox, a Utah rancher, the Uinta Fremont villages along Range Creek are virtually untouched.
Fremont Indian Map
Based on thin gray-coil pottery, the Fremont Indian sites in Utah are divided into five different groups. These classifications are based on a few common traits, but does not mean they were the same people. Although the vast majority of the Fremont Indian sites are in Utah, there have been sites, or Fremont artifacts, found in western Colorado, southwestern Wyoming, eastern Nevada, and southern Idaho.
Fremont Indian origins are contemporaneous with early Mogollon villages of New Mexico and Arizona. The Fremont and Mogollon Indian cultures share many characteristics of architecture and ceramic design. Around 400 A.D., the Fremont Indians obtained corn through trade with the Mogollon. The corn used by the Fremont Indians is known as Fremont Dent. This variety of corn is resistant to drought, environmental extremes, and has a short growing season. The Fremont Indian corn appears to have been developed in the Fremont area from an early species found in the Mogollon highlands. This is not the same species of corn found in the Four Corners region (Stone).
The Mogollon corn had originated in Mesoamerica about 4000 B.C.. A wild plant known as Teosinte is the probable ancestor of corn, but this is a subject of debate between botanists (Diamond). The ears of Teosinte were only a few inches long and had no covering husks.
By 750 A.D., agriculture was beginning to be a major source of food for some groups of Fremont Indians. In many cases, the Fremont Indians were using limited irrigation to grow The Three Sisters (corn, squash, and beans) in the semi-aired land. Some of the irrigation ditches were several miles long, and are still visible in a few places today (Barnes).
The floral and faunal material found at various Fremont Indian sites indicates a mixed horticultural and hunting-and-gathering subsistence (Stone). Corn, beans, and squash grown along the river bottoms added to the Fremont diet of native plants such as pickleweed, amaranth, pinyon nuts, globe mallow, rice grass, beeweed, berries, bulbs, and tubers along with meat from hunting.
Nine Mile Canyon between Price and Myton, Utah is one of the richest areas for Fremont Indian artwork. The picture below is at the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon and Nine Mile Canyon. The pictures of the Fremont granary, the pithouse outline, and rock shelters are located in this area.
This Fremont granary is across from the Fremont pithouse outline shown below. The granary is on the dark ledge just above the arrow.
Dave Summers of Las Vegas sent a picture of the panel after it was restored by a joint project of the citizens of Emery County, Utah and the BLM.
Entrance to the pithouse was through the opening at the top using a ladder. The hole also served as a smoke hole.
The Parowan Fremont built their pithouses close together, usually ten to twenty pithouses on a valley floor near streams (Stone). On the other hand, the San Rafael Fremont's pithouses were usually slab-lined. They also built above ground masonry structures, often multi-roomed constructed with and without mortar. In both cases, four central roof supports were used. The structures were plastered on the interior walls, and slab-lined fire pits were common. The San Rafael Fremont village sites were on hills and ridges overlooking permanent water sources and their farmland.
Rock overhangs were used by the Fremont Indians for storage and for shelter.
The Fremont Culture was not a rigid society like the Anasazi. The Fremont Indians appeared to take delight in being different. Jackal houses, small unit houses, and pithouses are often found in the same village (Barnes). Despite some villages being close together, the Fremont Indians were an aggressive people and uneasy truces existed between the villages.
Deer, bighorn sheep, rabbits, birds, fish and rodents were hunted using snares, nets, fishhooks, and the bow and arrow. The scene below at the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon is of a deer hunt, notice the large number of fawns in the petroglyph.
Unlike the Anasazi, Fremont Indian women used animal skins to make clothing. Animal hides were used for breechclouts, moccasins, robes, leather mittens, and other warm garments. The Fremont women sewed and mended the leather, which the Anasazi never mastered.
As hunter-gathers and settled-village lifestyle, the Fremont Indian culture lasted for about nine-hundred years. Note what appears to be a turkey on the right.
The Fremont Indian article was written by O. Ned Eddins of Afton, Wyoming. Permission is given for material from this site to be used for school research papers.
Thank you for your time,