The Promontory Phase in the Eastern Great Basin

Author(s): Joel Janetski

Year: 2017


Julian Steward found a distinctive culture in the uppermost levels of several caves on the north shore of the Great Salt Lake and labeled it Promontory after the low range of mountains containing the caves. Based on stratigraphy, material diagnostics and findings elsewhere along the Wasatch Front, he placed the Promontory culture subsequent to the Puebloan (Fremont) and prior to the Shoshone presence. Steward recognized the possibility that these recent cave occupants were Athapaskan speakers related to Canadian peoples to the north, a suggestion reinforced by recent research. Initial radiocarbon dating of Promontory moccasins suggested the Promontory culture was contemporary with late Fremont, and recent dating of perishables from the cave have reinforced that temporal placement. Non-perishable Promontory culture diagnostics include Desert Side-notched arrow points and low-fired, calcite tempered ceramics, objects also found in abundance at open sites along the Wasatch Front. All sites with these signature artifacts, including the caves, are referred to as representing the Promontory Phase in the eastern Great Basin; however, Promontory open sites postdate the bulk of cave Promontory dates on average by 200 years or more. This paper explores why open site dates were occupied later than those from the caves.

Cite this Record

The Promontory Phase in the Eastern Great Basin. Joel Janetski. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431873)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -122.168; min lat: 42.131 ; max long: -113.028; max lat: 49.383 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15379