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Poorly Provenienced Perishables at the USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum: New Directions for Old Utah Collections

Author(s): Tim Riley

Year: 2016

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The Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum in Price, Utah contains an impressive collection of textiles and other perishable artifacts from Eastern Utah. Many of these artifacts were donated by private individuals early in the museum’s history and have very limited information on their discovery and provenience. Despite these limitations, these items can become much more than striking art objects displayed to the public. Recent efforts have focused on expanding the useful data available for these collections, including radiocarbon dating and botanical identification of the materials used in manufacture. The long-term goal of this project is to reincorporate these objects, detached from context, into an understanding of past human lifeways in Eastern Utah by providing a temporal provenience and detailed information on their manufacture. This ongoing effort has already produced some engaging results. A headdress manufactured from a Bighorn sheep cranium, horn sheaths, olivella shell beads, and milkweed cordage was dated to 900 years before present. This new data corroborates the stylistic age determination of the shell beads and has led to further research into the cultural affinity and authenticity of this object.

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Cite this Record

Poorly Provenienced Perishables at the USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum: New Directions for Old Utah Collections. Tim Riley. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403680)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America