The Socio-Ecological Dynamics of the Uinta Fremont Agricultural Transition

Author(s): Judson Finley; Erick Robinson

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Global Perspectives on Climate-Human Population Dynamics During the Late Holocene" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Northeastern Utah’s Uinta Basin marks the northernmost extent of maize agriculture diffused from the American Southwest, with as many as a dozen distinct Fremont pithouse communities forming between AD 300-1350. Recent work in the Cub Creek locality of Dinosaur National Monument demonstrates that Fremont societies maintained relatively high mobility and low-level agricultural production within a context of multi-decadal precipitation variability; a semi-sedentary pithouse village emerged during a 300-year period of reduced precipitation variability from AD 750-1050 that increased maize yields. While a summed probability distribution of ~600 radiocarbon ages demonstrates peak regional population levels coincident with the same 300-year window, site-specific radiocarbon age models have not been created to evaluate the tempo and timing of pithouse village formation. Here we test the hypothesis that fluorescence of Uinta Fremont pithouse village formation occurred during the narrow 300-year window of reduced environmental variability, increased agricultural returns, and overall economic intensification. We suggest this event set the stage for the emergence of aggrandizing leaders, inter-community competition, and conflict noted in the regional rock art record. The Uinta Fremont stand as important example of the socio-ecological pathways through the agricultural transition that are critical for understanding variability in this global process.

Cite this Record

The Socio-Ecological Dynamics of the Uinta Fremont Agricultural Transition. Judson Finley, Erick Robinson. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451446)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -123.97; min lat: 37.996 ; max long: -101.997; max lat: 46.134 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25077