What’s Cooking at the Prehistoric Museum

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USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum Press Release

A complete Fremont cooking vessel, which was recovered from Nine Mile Canyon in the Spring of 2013, has been placed on display at the museum. Located on public lands managed by the BLM, the pot was first noticed by a field crew of the Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance. Archaeologists have identified it as part of the Uinta Grayware ceramic tradition based on the small particles of crushed limestone used to temper the clay before firing. The center of production for this pottery type is the Uintah Basin. This region of Utah has an early Fremont occupation, with evidence of farming in the basin as early as 2000 years before present.

“While it is always a surprise to find any complete pottery vessel, the fact that this pot is Uinta Grayware makes this find even more intriguing,” stated Museum archaeologist Dr. Tim Riley.

Most of the pottery recovered in Nine Mile Canyon over the last century has been Emery Grayware, which is the dominant pottery tradition south of the Tavaputs Plateau and along the San Rafael Swell. Recent excavations in the canyon suggest that the presence of Uinta Grayware may have been overlooked in the past. This cooking vessel adds to that picture and reminds people how much there is to learn about the history of Eastern Utah. Were these San Rafael Fremont groups sharing Nine Mile Canyon with groups from the north? Did the Uinta Fremont occupy the Tavaputs Plateau before the San Rafael Fremont? Were the Nine Mile villages trading for pottery from both the Uinta and San Rafael villages?  Come by the museum and dwell on these questions while thinking about the people who made this spectacular pottery so long ago.

Now on display for the public to view, this spectacular Grayware pot is the latest exhibit at the Prehistoric Museum. The Prehistoric Museum, located at 155 East Main Street in Price, is a multi-faceted venue that includes paleontology, archaeology, geology and an art gallery. Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Sunday. General admission rates apply.

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