Cultural, Historical, Geological, and Paleontological Resources

This topic for county resource planning is concerned with resources that have intrinsic value based on their age, heritage, scientific importance, or other intangible significance. However, these resources also highlight the unique character of the local setting and may contribute toward attracting businesses and tourism. Geology is another important planning component within the region. Items to highlight include unique geologic features and sights as well as identify potential development hazards such as faults, landslides and rockfall potential, and soil liquefaction potential (temporary loss of soil strength and stiffness during an earthquake or other applied stress).


Map of Data

Marshall/MD 250K= USGS geologic map for display at 1:250k
Marshall/MD 500= USGS geologic map for display at 1:500
UDNR.UGS.mapbib= USGS map and reports bibliography. Use this to identify local geologic reports.

Download mxd The ESRI mxd file of the services used to create the above map.

Resource Information

Cultural resources include archaeological sites, standing structures (e.g., buildings and bridges), and even places of importance that are over 50 years of age. Many historical and cultural resources are very sensitive and protected by law; however, it is important to remember that all cultural sites are not important or significant, and that those not considered as such would not be adversely affected by any planned projects.

Use the cultural data (Archaeology Sites, Historic Districts, Cultural Resource, etc.) to identify areas of the county that have significant cultural resources.

Geologic resources include fossils (paleontological resources) which are defined as the remains, traces, or imprints of ancient organisms preserved in or on the Earth’s crust, providing information about the history of life on Earth. The Utah Antiquities Act (UCA 9-8-404.) protects significant paleontological resources and applies to all paleontological resources that are on or eligible for inclusion in the State Paleontological Register.

The Utah Geological Survey (UGS) provides technical information and assistance regarding earthquakes and geologic hazards. The UGS also compiled a statewide list of geologic sights which they compiled into a mapping application with site photos and site descriptions for each feature.

Use the geological data (Geology, Landslide, Faults, Paleo Sensitive Areas, etc.) to understand the geologic resources within the county.

Best Management Practices

Cultural and Paleontological Resources

  • Establish a historic preservation committee to oversee the preservation ordinance and to educate, advocate, and provide assistance in historic preservation efforts.[1]
  • Educate residents through the historic preservation committee by holding workshops on rehabilitation, financial incentives, and other information. Establish a clearinghouse of information on preservation, loans, grants, construction and renovation, and landscaping.[1]
  • Cultural resources will continue to be inventoried and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Such evaluation will consider the impacts of any proposed project to cultural resources in the affected area. Stipulations will be attached as appropriate to assure compatibility of projects with management objectives for cultural resources.[2]
  • Consult with Utah Geological Survey regarding how future proposed uses may impact paleontological resources, as needed.[3]
  • The preservation of these resources can be supported by inventory, education and protection programs.[4]
  • Encourage the conservation, restoration, and preservation of those properties already listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[5]
  • Encourage property owners to conduct cultural resource surveys on significantly sized projects, or projects which are located in proximity to areas identified as having cultural resources.[5]
  • Work with owners of properties with significant cultural resources to identify alternative funding sources to avoid, reduce, or mitigate impacts on the resources.[5]
  • Seek adaptive uses as an alternative to demolishing or significantly altering historic structures.[5]

Geologic Hazards

  • Areas of erosion on public land will be identified and evaluated to identify sources and determine improvements.[2]
  • Fit development to the existing terrain, to prevent or reduce all adverse impacts in hazardous areas.[1]
  • Protect life and property by prohibiting development on slopes greater than 30%.[1]
  • Require the avoidance or mitigation of environmental hazards such as flooding, landslides, and subsidence or fissure zones as part of the development review process.[5]

Economic Considerations
  • Cultural, historical, geological, and paleontological resources are often connected with tourism and recreation. For example, the Utah Geological Survey has created a GeoSites online interactive map to help people explore Utah’s geological sites.
  • Historic buildings and districts provide character, a sense of stability, and a unique marketing angle for businesses; thus, community planners can draw upon local historic resources to stimulate economic development.[6]
  • A study by the Utah Heritage Foundation found that, “Utah benefited by $717,811,000 in direct and indirect spending by visitors to Utah heritage sites and special events, and $35,455,268 in investment that stayed in Utah rather then sent to Washington, D.C. because of projects that utilized the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit.”[7]

Impact Considerations - Cultural Resources

Because the application of the laws and regulations for cultural resources are complex and can be difficult to understand, it is usually a good idea to consult with a professional archaeologist or architectural historian concerning how to proceed with a particular project.

When considering plans for alterations to the landscape, it is important to remember that there can be, and sometimes are, archaeological sites, historic sites, and standing structures in those locations that may be of importance to many people. This is true despite the fact that the resource may not look interesting, may be in disrepair, or even, be collapsed or in ruins. The history and importance of a location cannot always be easily interpreted.

Knowing the potential for affecting cultural resources in various settings can be of great help early in the planning process so that they can be taken into account or the project planned around them. Settings in the WFRC planning area include: undeveloped rural, developed rural, and urban.

Undeveloped Rural (including Desert and Mountain) Settings
In places such as the West Desert, in high mountains, and even along the Great Salt Lake, archaeological sites will be the most prominent of all cultural resources. Depending upon the presence of fresh water sources and other resources of value to both prehistoric and historic peoples, the following kinds of sites can be expected.

Prehistoric sites in undeveloped rural/desert/mountain settings may include:

  • Lithic scatters or chipping stations
  • Campsites
  • Villages
  • Rock art
  • Processing sites
  • Quarry sites (where rock materials were acquired for making tools)

Historic sites in undeveloped rural/desert/mountain settings may include:

  • Cabins
  • Mines
  • Railroads
  • Industrial sites
  • Roads/trails
  • Small, isolated town sites
  • Transmission, telephone, and telegraph lines
  • Pipelines for water, gas, or petroleum products

Developed Rural Settings
This type of setting includes rural areas where existing and former small towns exist, where subdivisions may be planned, where developed recreation sites may exist, and where orchards or other agricultural activities take place.

Prehistoric sites in rural settings may include:

  • Similar types of sites as listed above
  • Even larger village sites if permanent water sources are present and elevation is not high

Historic sites in rural settings may include:

  • Similar types of sites as listed above
  • Town sites
  • Agricultural activity sites
  • Canals and ditches
  • Farmsteads
  • Fences
  • Orchards and associated buildings and other features

Urban Settings
In these locations a wide variety of sites can be found and, depending upon their age, history and integrity, they may be quite important. In urban settings, buildings, structures, historic landscapes, and urban detail might be expected. Although remnants of agricultural elements from earlier time periods might also be present. Linear sites, such as old transmission lines and pipelines, would be reduced in number or not visible.

Prehistoric sites in urban settings may include:

  • Similar types of sites listed above, though usually highly disturbed, destroyed,  or not visible

Historic sites in urban settings may include:

  • Dense occupation with both commercial and multifamily residential structures in downtowns, single family residential structures in suburban areas, though sometimes remnants remaining in downtown areas
  • Industrial sites, sometimes densely spaced
  • Remnant farmsteads, fences, orchards, other agricultural features
  • Railroads
  • Considerable infrastructure features including sidewalks, signs, signals, street lights, power lines, fire hydrants, and many other visible features

Project Impacts on Cultural Resources
In planning, it is important to consider the nature of potential impacts from proposed projects. Obviously, those types of projects involving considerable earth moving or structure demolition will have the most impact on archaeological and standing structure sites. During the planning phase of work, it is not necessary to undertake archaeological or standing structures surveys, though obtaining guidance for potential cultural resources impacts is essential. The first step is to contact the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). This office can help in the planning process and provide information about whether there are known or expected cultural resources existing within the project area. This information is not always complete depending if the entire project area has been previously inventoried for cultural resources. Engaging a cultural resources firm at this point can also be very useful. They can apply their knowledge and expertise to the project and provide some sense of what types of sites one can expect to be there and provide an idea of the possible density. They can also carry out a literature search of the area through the SHPO database which will provide the planning team with the best information available prior to finalizing a plan or project.  Another helpful place to start is the Division of State History’s county planning resource page.

If a project is subject to federal or certain state agency oversight, it is important to seek guidance from the lead federal agency (leading or heading up the project) or state agency. The most commonly consulted agencies, with their contact information, are listed later in this document. Once a plan or project is finalized, it is likely that a pedestrian cultural resources survey will be necessary. This pedestrian inventory usually consists of the project footprint, usually with a buffer area around it. This inventory involves engagement of qualified archaeologists and, depending upon the types of sites expected to be encountered, those qualified to record and evaluate architecture (usually architectural historians). In the State of Utah, survey involves walking the entire project area in transects spaced no wider than 15 meters (30 ft) and recording and evaluating all prehistoric and historic sites 50 years old or older. It also involves recommending whether located sites are significant or important. The professional doing the inventory evaluates sites discovered and recorded for eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). A report and site forms are prepared and submitted to an agency whose specialist will agree or not with the consultant’s recommendation. Should a site be determined eligible to the NRHP by a federal agency, it is called an Historic Property. If a project is subject to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Section 106 requirements, either the historic property will need to be avoided or some type of data recovery undertaken to mitigate the adverse effect (destruction or even a minor impact) on the site.

It is clear from the foregoing discussion that prior planning is very important to know what might be in a project area so that early in the process so that, if possible, changes can be made to avoid adverse impacts on sites. If it is not possible to avoid impacting sites, there are many ways to mitigate the effects, which don’t always involve excavation or costly changes to project plans. It is always important to remain in contact with the lead agency during a project subject to Section 106. This will help to know, as far in advance as possible, how a project may be altered to avoid unnecessarily expensive and time consuming cultural resources mitigation.

Engagement of a qualified cultural resources company is also in the best interest of project managers. These professionals can guide the project team through the process and help them avoid costly assumptions and unnecessary tasks.

Visual Impacts
While not all projects are subject to visual effect evaluation requirements, there are instances when this is the case. Such requirements are usually determined by the lead agency, depending upon the type of project and that agency’s regulations. That is why it is important to not assume, but to ask the question early in the planning process. In some cases, construction of power lines, housing developments, industrial parks, even pipelines, can trigger the need to take into account visual effects to cultural resources. Note, consideration of visual effects to cultural sites is different than visual effect studies which may be undertaken as part of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) studies.

Human Remains
Another consideration of impacts that needs to be mentioned is encountering human remains or burials. While not frequent, it is vitally important that legal processes be followed, should this occur. It should be mentioned that proper procedures must be followed for encountering burials regardless of whether a project is subject to Section 106 or on private property.

Native American Considerations
Procedures when encountering a Native American grave differ from that of the grave of any other person and it is important that proper procedures are followed in each instance. Hiring of a qualified archaeologist (cultural resource professional) is best in this regard, although the Utah Division of State History Antiquities Section is also available to assist. Procedures differ slightly on federal, state and private lands. See compliance law links below for federal projects and state projects.

Federal and State Agencies, Laws, and Regulations
There are federal and state laws and regulations protecting significant cultural resources and historic properties. While these laws and regulations generally apply to federal or state lands, there are many situations where private lands may be included. One of the most important considerations is to know which federal or state agencies are being consulted or included in the project. Many have their own regulatory structure concerning cultural resources. A list of federal and state agencies most commonly involved in resource planning is provided below. State and county entities must understand the importance of SHPO. Besides consulting with individual agencies, it is important to consult with the SHPO whenever undertaking resources planning or projects.

Federal Agencies:

  1. US Bureau of Land Management, Utah Cultural Resources, Salt Lake City
  2. US Forest Service, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache NF History and Culture, Utah
  3. US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District. Bountiful, Utah
  4. US Bureau of Reclamation Provo, Utah
  5. US Bureau of Indian Affairs, Phoenix, Arizona
  6. Federal Communications Commission
  7. Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, DC
  8. US Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC
  9. Rural Utility Service, Washington, DC
  10. National Resources Conservation Service, Utah
  11. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC

Utah State Agencies:

  1. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
  2. Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining
  3. Utah State Parks
  4. State Institutional Trust Lands Administration
  5. Utah Department of Transportation
  6. State Historic Preservation Office
  7. Utah National Guard

Federal laws must be considered if project plans include federal land. The same is true if federal licensing or federal funds are involved. In accordance with federal laws and regulations, project undertakings must take into account their effects upon potential historic properties. The following federal legislation is the most pertinent:

  1. Antiquities Act of 1906 (P.L. 59_209; 34 Stat. 225; 16 U.S.C. 431_433)
  2. Historic Sites Act of 1935 (P.L. 74_292; 49 Stat. 666; 16 U.S.C. 461_467)
  3. National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (P.L. 89_665; 80 Stat. 915; 16 U.S.C. 470 as amended by P.L. 90_243, P.L. 93_54, P.L. 94_422, and P.L. 94_458)
  4. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (P.L. 91_190; 83 Stat. 852; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)
  5. Executive Order 11593 of 1971; Executive Order 13007
  6. Archaeological and Historical Conservation Act of 1974 (P.L. 86_523, as amended by P.L. 93_291; 16 U.S.C. 469_469c)
  7. Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979; (16 U.S.C. 470aa-470mm; Public Law 96-95 and amendments to it)
  8. American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 (P.L. 95_341)
  9. Native American Graves and Repatriation Act of 1990 (P.L.101-601)
  10. National Register of Historic Places

The State of Utah also has several laws with implementing regulations, which may be applicable to project planning and undertakings including:

  1. Antiquities Protection Act of 1993 (U.C.A. Sec. 9-8-3 and 9-8-4)
  2. Abuse or Desecration of a Dead Human Body (U.C.A. Sec. 76-9-704)

Helpful Contact Information
The Utah Division of State History is the main resource in Utah for information and expertise on cultural and historical items. The Division programs include:

It is usually a good idea to consult with a professional archaeologist or architectural historian concerning how to proceed with a particular project.

  • The Utah Public Policy Lands Coordination Office, which issues permits for archaeologists who work in Utah, maintains a list of permitted archaeologists.
  • It can also be helpful to consult the State Historic Preservation Office regarding consultant selection.  
  • Yet another source is the American Cultural Resources Association website where capable consultants are listed who are qualified to work in Utah, as well as other parts of the country.

It is also very important to know that it is usually necessary to consult with specific Native American tribes when planning for projects.

  • A useful agency to contact concerning Native American tribes is the Utah Division of Indian Affairs. This agency can help facilitate contact with tribes and provide information.
  • A Bureau of Indian Affairs website also exists that is quite helpful for identifying tribes in the region, as these contacts change regularly.
Impact Considerations - Paleontological Resources

Paleontological resources are the fossilized remains of animals (vertebrates and invertebrates) and plants or traces or evidence of prehistoric animals. It is important to remember that there can be paleontological resources in areas planned for development of various kinds. This will occur in areas where geologic formations occur which hold fossils of various kinds or where Pleistocene Period deposits (the last 3 million years or so) occur, such as on some locations around the shores of the Great Salt Lake. A call about this subject is not easy and requires an understanding of the geologic history of the Wasatch Front and where such formations and deposits may be exposed on the surface or by excavation. A good place to begin due diligence concerning this topic is the Utah Geological Survey’s county planning page concerning paleontological resources.

After becoming acquainted with how fossil resources are regulated within the state, it is important to consult with paleontologists at the Utah Geological Survey. This will help to know whether there is potential for paleontological resources within a proposed project or planning area. Currently, Dr. James Kirkland is the State Paleontologist and Martha Hayden is Assistant Paleontologist. The State Paleontologist is a good source, but for specific information about project areas, it is best to contact Ms. Hayden. Their contact information is available from this link to the Utah Geological Survey. Ms. Hayden will be able to provide information that you need to know about state laws and regulations concerning paleontological resources and how you should proceed. In some cases, it may not be necessary to do further work. On the other hand, depending upon the situation and where a project lies, it may require the hiring of a professional paleontologist to help work through the process.

There are no Utah State requirements for paleontological resources on private lands. Should the State Paleontologist identify a particular area as sensitive for such resources that lie on state lands or federal lands, it will likely be necessary to hire a professional paleontologist to assist in the project. The State of Utah does not maintain a list of qualified paleontologists, but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does maintain a list of permitted paleontologists. These professionals are not only qualified to work on federal lands, but on most any project undertaken in a Wasatch Front county.

Types of Paleontological Resources

Types of paleontological localities include:

  • Invertebrate localities are fossil remnants of non-vertebrate creatures. These are many-celled animals that do not have a vertebral column, backbone, vertebrae, backbone or long, full-length notochord.
  • Vertebrate localities include fossil remnants of creatures with some form of vertebrae. These can be mammals, dinosaurs and other reptiles.
  • Floral localities are remnants of plants.
  • Trace fossils include skin impressions, track sites, and remnants of burrows or borings.

Impacts on paleontological resources are considered significantly adverse if project implementation results in adverse effects on Condition 1 or 2 paleontologically sensitive geological formations or in adverse effects on Class 1, 2, or 3 paleontologically sensitive fossil localities. The rationale for these significance criteria is discussed below.

Paleontological research will be guided, in part, by a geologic formation classification system and a sensitivity classification of fossil localities, both suggested by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and modified from the Committee on Guidelines for Paleontological Collecting (Committee) (1987). The classification system for defining the paleontological sensitivity of geological formations consist of the following from the BLM:

  • Condition 1. Formations known to contain fossils of significant scientific interest, or where significant fossils (especially vertebrates) are likely to be discovered with detailed field work.
  • Condition 2. Formations where fossils are present, but by their nature are not anticipated to be of high scientific value.
  • Condition 3. Formations containing few fossils or those found are of little scientific value.

The classification system for defining the paleontological sensitivity of fossil localities consist of the following from The Committee on Guidelines for Paleontological Collecting (1987):

  • Class 1. Critical – reference locality for holotype or critical paleontological material, or any type section of geological strata needed for future study.  All vertebrate fossil sites fall within this category.
  • Class 2. Significant – any locality that produces rare, well-preserved, or critical fossils usable for taxonomic, evolutionary, stratigraphic, paleoenvironmental, or paleoecological studies.
  • Class 3. Important – any locality that produces common, abundant fossils useful for stratigraphic or population variability studies.
  • Class 4. Insignificant – any locality with poorly preserved, common, or stratigraphically unimportant fossil material.
  • Class 5. Unimportant – any locality intensively surveyed and determined to be of minimal scientific interest.

For federally overseen projects, the significance of paleontological localities and fossil finds will be determined by the lead federal agency in consultation with the Utah State Paleontologist (USP). The lead federal agency, in consultation with the federal land owning agency (as applicable), and the USP, determines the significance of impacts and treatment planning related to these resources. Impacts are considered significant if either of the following were to occur:

  • Disturbance of paleontological resources, including geologic formations containing fossils, fossil localities, or isolated fossil finds that are on file with the USP’s Office.
  • Alteration of paleontological resources, including geologic formations containing fossils, fossil localities, or isolated fossil finds that are on file with the USP’s Office.

A similar scenario (involving state agencies and the Utah State Paleontologist’s Office) would likely occur for state lead projects or a state agency oversees the project, but each project needs to be determined case by case.

Federal and State Agencies, Laws, and Regulations
There are federal and state laws and regulations protecting significant cultural resources, or historic properties. While these laws and regulations generally apply to federal or state lands, there are many situations where private lands may be included, as well State and Federal legislation that applies to paleontological resources are as follows: Antiquities Act of 1906 (P.L. 59-209; 34 Stat. 225; 16 U.S.C. 432, 433) and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (P.L. 91-190; 83 Stat. 852; 42 U.S.C. 4321-4327). However, the most recent and most important law protecting paleontological resources on federal lands (except Indian Reservations) is the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, Subtitle D – Paleontological Resources Preservation (P.L. 111-011; 123 Stat. 1172; 16 U.S.C. 470aaa). In addition, BLM has developed regulations about protection of paleontological resources on lands administered by their field offices. Applicable Utah State legislation consists of the Antiquities Protection Act of 1993 (U.C.A. Sec. 9-8-101-806).

Federal Agencies:

  1. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Utah Cultural Resources, Salt Lake City
  2. U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Uinta-Wasatch-Cache NF History and Culture, Utah
  3. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District. Bountiful, Utah
  4. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Provo, Utah
  5. U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (on Indian Reservations), Phoenix, Arizona
  6. Federal Communications Commission
  7. Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C.
  8. U.S. Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C.
  9. Rural Utility Service, Washington, D.C.
  10. National Resources Conservation Service, Utah
  11. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C.

Utah State Agencies:

  1. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
  2. Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining
  3. Utah State Parks
  4. State Institutional Trust Lands Administration
  5. Utah Department of Transportation (often carries out work under authority of the Federal Department of Transportation, Highway Administration)
  6. Utah Geological Survey

Prehistoric and Ethnographic Overview


Counties of Tooele, Salt Lake, Davis, Morgan and Weber

In the period of time before European Americans entered the Great Basin, known as Prehistory, native peoples found food through behavior patterns rooted in the seasonal procurement of resources found in particular environments. Over time, in some parts of the Great Basin, traditional hunting and gathering patterns gave way to living increasingly longer periods of time in particular areas and the development of agriculture.

Paleo-Indian Period

The Pleistocene, or the most recent “Ice Age,” is divided into a number of periods marked by warming and cooling trends that resulted in the repetitive advance and retreat of continental ice masses across North America. The Wisconsin Glaciation (20,000 to 18,000 years before present [B.P.]) marking the end of the Pleistocene Period created much cooler and moister weather patterns across North America. The advancement of glaciers in higher elevations and northern latitudes trapped much water in the form of ice. This resulted in lower sea levels that exposed the area between Siberia and Alaska, known as the Beringian Landmass. Archaeological evidence from across the North American continent indicates that humans may have crossed the Beringian Landmass into this continent as early as 16,000 B.P. (Taylor, et al. 1999:455). These early aboriginal inhabitants are referred to as Paleo-Indians.

Paleo-Indians were highly mobile, hunting animals and gathering plants with an emphasis on large Pleistocene animals such as Wholly Mammoths and Mastodons. Paleo-Indian social organization consisted of small groups that spread rapidly to inhabit North and South America. Paleo-Indian sites are distinguished by the presence of specific types of projectile points and associated tools, and the remains of extinct large mammals. Conservative estimates for the Paleo-Indian Period place this earliest North American occupation between 14,000 and 10,000 B.P.

During the Pleistocene, a portion of a large inland lake covered the project area with water (Currey, et al. 1983). This lake, known as Lake Bonneville, covered much of the Eastern Great Basin. This lake was impounded by landforms of various types. As glacial runoff slowed and the climate warmed and dried, the waters of the lake receded gradually. About 15,000 B.P., a cataclysmic flood, which occurred as a result of fractured and weakened geologic formations at Red Rocks Pass at the north end of the lake (in Cache Valley), dramatically lowered the level of the lake and created significantly altered shorelines. The resulting shoreline may have supported humans; however, there is no archaeological evidence for such an early occupation of the Great Basin. People do not appear to have inhabited the region until later in the Paleo-Indian Period, ca. 11,500 B.P., but precise dating of such early occupations is complicated. The geologically active, erosional nature of the Great Basin diminishes the probability that intact, early Paleo-Indian artifacts could be identified.

The first known Paleo-Indian occupations of the Great Basin are represented by three distinct technological traditions or complexes, represented by particular sets of stone tools. These are known as the Western Clovis Complex, the Western Stemmed Complex, and the Folsom Complex (Willig and Aikens 1988:1).

Paleo-Indian sites are rare in the project area. However, a brown chert Alberta-series projectile point fragment was found at site 42BO922 near the Golden Spike National Historic Site (Giles and Frost 2001). This Paleo-Indian projectile point dates between 9500-9000 B.P. (Drager and Ireland 1986:596).

The Clovis complex (11,500 to 11,000 B.P.) is represented by lanceolate shaped projectile points which have narrow grooves extracted (fluting) on both sides to facilitate connecting (hafting) the points to the end of a spear. Also associated with the Clovis tool assemblage are other particular types of stone and bone tools for cutting and butchering animals and, likely, sewing hides. Clovis sites are limited in Utah to isolated surface finds and several small sites such as Lime Ridge (Davis and Brown 1989), Helln Moriah (Davis, et al. 1996), and Site 42MD300 (Copeland and Fike 1988).

The Western Stemmed Complex (11,000 to 8,000 B.P.) is characterized by large lanceolate shaped projectile points associated with knives and other heavy stone tools. In Utah, sites from this complex include Danger Cave (Jennings 1957), Hogup Cave (Aikens 1970), and the Sevier Desert Site (Simms and Lindsay 1984).

The Folsom Complex represents a cultural tradition more distinct than the Clovis and Western Stemmed complexes. The Folsom Complex dates to between 11,000 and 9,500 B.P. The Folsom Complex is found in a wider geographic range and over a longer time period than that of Clovis. Folsom sites are associated with fluted projectile points that are smaller, thinner, and more refined than those identified at Clovis sites. More delicate and detailed task specific stone and bone tools are also found in this assemblage. Folsom hunters appear to have primarily hunted extinct forms of bison. Larger mammals, such as mammoths, are absent from Folsom sites. Folsom points have been noted as isolated artifacts across Utah, and at the Montgomery habitation site near Green River, Utah (Davis 1985).

The terminal Pleistocene, or Bonneville Period, ranges from 11,000 to 9,500 B.P. (Aikens and Madsen 1986:154). This time frame overlaps with the Paleo-Indian Period and is considered a transitory stage between Paleo-Indian and Early Archaic lifestyles. In this time frame, Western Stemmed is seen as following Clovis, rather than occurring at the same time. The presence of stone flakes and grinding stones (used to mill plants), that occur at the Danger Cave site, date to around 9,800 B.P. (Jennings 1957) providing early evidence for plant processing and suggest that different animals were being hunted and a wider variety of plant species were being gathered, during this time period.

Archaic Period

The period of time known as the “Archaic” (10,000 to 1,600 B.P.) represents a long span of years distinguished by a steady transition of lifeways and technologies. An increased focus on hunting of small game and gathering of plant resources marks the Archaic Period. Nevertheless, the transition between the Paleo-Indian and Archaic periods is poorly defined. Both the Folsom and Western Stemmed complexes existed into the Archaic. Folsom culture during the Archaic does not seem to have changed dramatically from what is understood for the Paleo-Indian Period. However at sites such as Hogup Cave and Danger Cave, Western Stemmed assemblages show that the people of this time exploited an increasing variety of plants and animals (Aikens and Madsen 1986; Jennings 1978). Archaic cultures expanded across the Great Basin, resulting in a multitude of projectile point types, sites, and lifeways. Several periods of the Archaic have been defined in order to show these cultural shifts.

The Wendover Period ranges from approximately 9,500 to 6,000 B.P. as defined by Aikens and Madsen (1986:154) and roughly corresponds to the Early Archaic Period described for other regions. Sites are found at many different elevations and in a wide variety of environments. Excavation of dry caves in western Utah recovered basketry, cloth, cordage, digging tools, snares, buckskin, and fire drills (Jennings 1978:41, 49). Stone tools for grinding plants, implements such as atlatls (wood spear extenders), and traps for hunting small game are common. These artifact assemblages are indicative of the wide variety of activities engaged in by prehistoric inhabitants, who most likely followed a seasonal round of hunting and gathering. Projectile points common to the Wendover Period are known as the Elko Series, Pinto Series, Bitterroot Side-notched, and Humboldt Concave-base.

The Black Rock Period ranges from 6,000 to 1,500 B.P. (Aikens and Madsen 1986:154). This range spans the Middle to Late Archaic as described in other Great Basin regions. It is characterized by a drier environment, which diminished lake margin resources, i.e. reduced plant and animals available as food resources. Increasing pressure from population expansion complicated issues. The increased population pressure and decrease in available food resources prompted a shift to a more mobile population and movement into upland areas to take advantage of food resources located at higher elevations. Expansion into upland piñon-juniper tree communities for the exploitation of mountain sheep, deer, and other animals became more necessary. The beginning of the Black Rock Period is distinguished, technologically, by the appearance of new Elko and Gypsum projectile point types. Around 4,000 B.P., a moister, cooler period began with an expansion of mountain glaciers, cooling of the environment, increased rainfall, flooded springs, and increased marshlands. Subsistence activities shifted to an emphasis on upland areas due to the decrease in available plants and waterfowl from flooded areas (Aikens and Madsen 1986:158). The end of the Black Rock Period is distinguished by the introduction of the bow and arrow. This technology rapidly replaced the atlatl and diminished the importance of the spear. While projectile point forms remained constant in terms of basic form, overall size decreased.

Several characteristics of horticulture (proto-agriculture) subsistence occurred at the end of the Archaic Period. The manufacture of pottery and the introduction of domesticated corn  variants accompanied an increase in settled communities that appeared throughout much of Utah, Eastern Nevada, Western Colorado, and Southern Idaho. Designated the Fremont, this cultural tradition flourished between 1600 and 700 B.P. (Marwitt 1986:161).

Formative Period

There are five distinct variants of the cultural sites and artifact assemblages representing the Fremont. The Great Salt Lake Fremont variant is most commonly associated with the Northern Great Salt Lake Basin (Marwitt 1986:162). This variant occupied the northern periphery of the Fremont area from 1,200 to 700 B.P. The Great Salt Lake Fremont differed from the four other variants by their nearly complete reliance on the processing of wild plant and animal resources around marsh and lake environments (Madsen 1989:21-22; Marwitt 1986:168). These hunter/gatherer characteristics coincide with the region’s theme of subsistence patterns rooted in a marshland economy. Commonly attributed to the Great Salt Lake Fremont are bone knives, saws and whistles, antler harpoon heads, ceramic humanlike figurines, and ceramic vessels of a type of pottery known as Great Salt Lake Gray Ware and Promontory Gray Ware (Marwitt 1986:168-169). Habitation sites generally lack substantial architecture and are limited to subsurface pithouses and storage pits located near marshy areas. These were seasonally used semi-permanent structures. Mobile camps and well-sheltered caves were visited during seasonal rounds maintained by this transient Fremont subgroup. Sites important to our understanding of the Great Salt Lake Fremont include Bear River No. 1 (Aikens 1966) and Bear River No. 2 (Shields and Dalley 1978), Injun Creek (Aikens 1966), the Levee and Knoll sites (Fry and Dalley 1979), Hogup Cave (Aikens 1970), the Promontory Caves (Steward 1937), Swallow Shelter (Dalley 1976), Orbit Inn (Simms and Heath n.d.), Willard (Judd 1926), and the Fremont sites identified along the southern banks of the Snake River in Southern Idaho (Butler 1981).

Near the end of the Fremont occupation, what appear to be a different people, speaking a different language, began migrating east and northeast from the southwestern part of the Great Basin, in California. They entered the region and became the dominant population. These groups were Numic linguistic group speakers whose descendants, ultimately, became the currently known tribes of Shoshone, Ute and Paiute. It appears that the Fremont culture abandoned the Great Basin at approximately the same time that Numic-speaking groups migrated into the Great Basin (Jones 1994). Fremont agriculture and house construction ceased about 800 B.P. in the southern Fremont range (Dodd 1982), about 650 B.P. in central Utah (Janetski, et al. 1985), and ca. 650-500 B.P. in the northern and eastern Fremont regions (Aikens 1966; Fry and Dalley 1979; Creasman and Scott 1987).

Late Prehistoric Period

Models for the Numic expansion described above vary and are contested by some (Sutton and Rhode 1994). The various models are based largely upon analysis of studies on the languages and culture of current tribal groups in the Great Basin. The most accepted theories place the origins of the Numa in southwestern California, suggesting their east-by-northeast expansion into the Great Basin (Madsen 1994; Rhode and Madsen 1994). The exact nature of their movements is unclear. It is not understood whether the Fremont abandoned the region completely prior to the Numic expansion, if competition for resources forced the Fremont from the area, or if the Fremont were assimilated into the Numic/Shoshone populations (Marwitt 1986:171-172; Simms and Heath: n.d.). Archaeological evidence is disparate. At some sites, levels with Fremont attributes coincide with Shoshone pottery. At other sites, a complete replacement of Fremont characteristics is suggested by a distinctly non-Fremont assemblage (Madsen 1989:44; Marwitt 1986:172). Eventually, Fremont attributes disappear and elements of Shoshone culture become dominant.

Due to a scarcity of artifacts, ethnically identifiable Shoshone, Goshute, and Ute sites are difficult to identify. Little is known about these groups, archaeologically, outside of the presence of Late Prehistoric pottery and Desert Side-notched projectile points. Antelope traps constructed of brush and small, temporary brush shelters appear to represent the range of Shoshone architecture. Neither is conducive to archaeological preservation.

Ethnographic and historical evidence for the counties of Tooele, Salt Lake, Davis, Weber and Morgan suggest that the northern area of Morgan and Weber counties, was primarily occupied by Western Shoshone, historically designated the “Weber Utes”, as in inhabitants living along the Weber River (Steward 1938:220). These same people are known to have occupied the Salt Lake City area, alongside Gosuite (Goshute) peoples, a variant of Western Shoshone (Steward 1938:220-222; Thomas and others 1986:262, 282) whose core territory was further west in and around Tooele County. The Western Shoshone also had connections further north into Cache and Malad Valleys in Idaho, where they may have mixed with what are known as Northern Shoshone and Bannock bands in Southern Idaho and Southeastern Oregon (Steward 1938:186-222). Ute Indians from the Utah Lake area further south are also known to have frequented the Salt Lake County area (Steward 1938:221-222).

Traditionally, all of these groups followed seasonal rounds, moving to specific geographic areas as particular resources became available. Band size and structure were flexible, adapting to various requirements for utilizing different resources, with small family-size groups in spring and summer and larger groups in the fall and winter (Steward 1938:220-221). The flexible nature of these groups, allowed far-flung travels. Particularly, for the Ute and Northern Shoshone and Bannock, the introduction of the horse in the 1700s, allowed a much enhanced subsistence base, with bison hunting in Wyoming and even further north and east onto the Great Plains, salmon fishing in Idaho, and antelope drives in many parts of the Great Basin, Idaho and Wyoming. These patterns of subsistence remained predominant until the Historic Period when the pressures of Euro-American settlement disrupted the abilities of Shoshone groups to maintain their seasonal rounds.

References Cited

Aikens, Melvin C. Fremont-Promontory-Plains Relationships, Including a Report of Excavations at the Injun Creek and Bear River Number 1 Sites, Northern Utah. University of Utah Anthropological Papers 82. Salt Lake City, 1966.

Aikens, Melvin C. Hogup Cave. University of Utah Anthropological Papers No. 93. Salt Lake City, 1970.

Aikens, Melvin C. and David B. Madsen. Prehistory of the Eastern Area. In Great Basin, edited by W.L. D’Azevedo, pp. 149-160. Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 11. Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 1986.

Butler, B. Robert. Late Period Cultural Sequences in the Northeastern Great Basin Subarea and Their Implications for the Upper Snake and Salmon River Country. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 3(2):245-256, 1981.

Copeland, James M. and Richard E. Fike. Fluted Projectile Points in Utah. Utah Archaeology, 1988.

Creasman, Steven D. and Linda J. Scott. Texas Creek Outlook: Evidence for Late Fremont (Post A.D. 1200) Occupation in Northwest Colorado. Southwestern Lore 53(4), 1987.

Currey, Donald R., Genevieve Atwood, and Don R. Mabey. Major Levels of Great Salt Lake and Lake Bonneville. State of Utah Department of Natural Resources Utah Geological and Mineral Survey Map 73. Salt Lake City, 1983.

Dalley, Gardiner F. Swallow Shelter and Associated Sites. University of Utah Anthropological Papers No.96. Salt Lake City, 1976.

Davis, William E. The Montgomery Folsom Site. Current Research in the Pleistocene, 1985.

Davis, William E. and Gary M. Brown. The Lime Ridge Clovis Site. Utah Archaeology, 1989.

Davis, William E., Dorothy Slack, and Nancy Shearin. The Hell’n Moriah Clovis Site. Utah Archaeology, 1996.

Dodd, Walter A., Jr. Final Excavations at the Evans Mound Site. University of Utah Anthropological Papers No. 106. Salt Lake City, 1982.

Drager, Dwight L., and Arthur K. Ireland. The Seedskadee Project: Remote Sensing in Non-site Archaeology. United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Southwest Region, Southwest Cultural Resources Center, Division of Cultural Research, Branch of Remote Sensing, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Region, Salt Lake City, Utah. Submitted to Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Region, Salt Lake City, Utah,  Interagency Agreement No. 2-07-40-S3351. Copies available from Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Region, Salt Lake City, 1986.

Fry, Gary F. and Gardiner F. Dalley. The Levee Site and the Knoll Site. University of Utah Anthropological Papers No. 100. Salt Lake City, 1979.

Giles, Ralph B. and Dawn A. Frost. Golden Spike National Historic Site, Systemwide Archaeological Inventory Program, Fiscal Year 2000 Interim Report, vol. 1. Western Archaeological Conservation Center, Tucson, Arizona, 2001.

Janetski, Joel C., Asa S. Nielson, and James D. Wilde. The Clear Creek Canyon Archaeological Project: A Preliminary Report. Brigham Young University Museum of Peoples and Cultures Technical Series Nos. 85-99. Provo, Utah, 1985.

Jennings, Jesse D. Danger Cave. University of Utah Anthropological Paper 27. Salt Lake City, 1957.

Jennings, Jesse D. Prehistory of Utah and the Eastern Great Basin. University of Utah Anthropological Paper 98. Salt Lake City, 1978.

Jones, Kevin. Can the Rocks Talk? Archaeology and Numic Languages. In Across the West: Human Population Movement and the Expansion of the Numa, edited by D. B. Madsen and D. Rhode, pp. 71-75. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 1994.

Judd, Neil M. Archeological Observations North of the Rio Colorado, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 28. Washington, D.C., 1926.

Madsen, Brigham D. Exploring the Great Salt Lake, The Stansbury Expeditions of 1849-50. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 1989.

Madsen, David B. Exploring the Fremont. University of Utah Occasional Publication No. 8. Salt Lake City, 1989.

Madsen, David B. Mesa Verde and Sleeping Ute Mountain: The Geographical and Chronological Dimensions of the Numic Expansion. In Across the West: Human Population Movement and the Expansion of the Numa, edited by D. B. Madsen and D. Rhode, pp. 24-31. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 1994.

Marwitt, John P. Northern Shoshone and Bannock. In Great Basin, edited by W.L. D’Azevedo, pp. 161-172. Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 11. Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 1986.

Rhode, David and David B. Madsen. Where Are We?  In Across the West: Human Population Movement and the Expansion of the Numa, edited by D. B. Madsen and D. Rhode, pp. 71-75. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 1994.

Shields, Wayne F. and Gardiner F. Dalley. The Bear River No. 2 Site. University of Utah Anthropological Papers No. 99. Salt Lake City, 1978.

Simms, Steven R. and Kathleen M. Heath Site Structure of Orbit Inn: An Archaeological Application of Inferences from Ethnoarchaeology. Copy on file at the Weber State University Archaeological Laboratory, Ogden, Utah., n.d.

Simms, Steven R. and La Mar W. Lindsay. 42MD300, an Early Holocene Site in the Sevier Desert. Utah Archaeology, 1984.

Steward, Julian H. Ancient Caves of the Great Salt Lake Region. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 116. Washington, 1937.

Steward, Julian H. Petroglyphs of the United States, Smithsonian Report for 1936, 1938.

Sutton, Mark Q. and David Rhode. Background to the Numic Problem. In Across the West: Human Population  Movement and the Expansion of the Numa, edited by D. B. Madsen and D. Rhode, pp. 6-15. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 1994.

Taylor, R.E., C. Vance Haynes, Jr., Donna L. Kirner, and John R. Southon. Radiocarbon Analysis of Modern Organics at Monte Verde, Chile: No Evidence for a Local Reservoir Effect. American Antiquity, 1999.

Thomas, David Hurst, Lorann S. A. Pendleton, and Stehen C. Cappannart. Western Shoshone. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Great Basin, Volume 11, pp. 262-283, edited by William C. Sturtevant, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 1986.

Willig, Judith A. and C. Melvin Aikens. The Clovis-Archaic Interface in Far Western North America. In Early Human Occupation in Far Western North America: The Clovis-Archaic Interface, edited by J. A. Willig, C.M. Aikens, and J.L. Fagan, pp. 1-40. Anthropological Papers No. 21, Nevada State Museum, Carson City, 1988.

Brief County Histories
Davis County
Morgan County
Salt Lake County
Tooele County
Weber County
County History References
Data Download
  GIS Data Map Service Web Map Document  Tabular Data  Website
Data NameData ExplanationPublication DateSpatial AccuracyContact
National Register of Historic Places
Use to locate historic places on the national register, sites, structures, and buildingsMay, 20141:24,000National Park Service
Interactive map identifying geologic points of interest throughout Utah.Unknown1:24,000Utah Geological Survey
Generalized Archaeology Sites
Use to locate recorded archaeological sites within 320ac. hexagons10/29/2014Generalized dataUtah DivisionUtah State History
Use to locate cemeteries1/18/131:24,000Utah Division of State History
Historic Districts
Use to locate areas designated as a historic districtMarch 20141:24,000Utah Division of State History
Corey Jensen
UGS Geologic Maps
30'x60' and 7.5' Geologic Maps of UtahVariousVariousUtah Geological Survey
UGS Paleo Sensitivity Areas
Use to identify potential sensitive paleontological areasUnknownUnknownUtah Geological Survey
State Paleontologist's Office
Jim Kirkland
Utah Quaternary Fault and Fold Database
, ,
Compilation of existing information on faults and fault-related folds considered to be potential earthquake sources1/20/2016VariousUtah Geologic Survey
Geological Map of Utah
Use to identify geological units20001:500,000Utah Geological Survey


  1. Salt Lake County. 2004. Copperton Township General Plan. Salt Lake County Public Works Department, February.
  2. US Bureau of Land Management, Salt Lake District. 1988. Proposed Pony Express Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement, September.
  3. Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands. 2013. Final Great Salt Lake Comprehensive Management Plan and Record of Decision. Utah Department of Natural Resources, March.
  4. Tooele County. 2008. Tooele County General Plan.
  5. Morgan County. 2010. Moving Forward: Morgan County General Plan. Adopted December 21.
  6. Utah Division of State History. 2004. Historic Resources County Resource Planning Webpage. Accessed: 2/24/16.
  7. Utah Heritage Foundation. 2013. Profits Through Preservation. Accessed: 2/24/16.