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Mystery Tribe - Fremont Indians

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Mystery Tribe

About 700 years ago the Fremont Indians lived in cliff tops settlements, in a remote canyon

that is now known as Range Creek. Around 1250 AD things went south for the Fremont. Within

the space of a century, their culture had all but disappeared. Leaving behind arrows scattered on

the ground, and corn and rye remaining in their granary's. The disappearance of the Fremont Indians

has become one of North American archaeology's biggest mysteries. In between the Rockies

and the Sierra Nevada the group thrived for 600 year, they were adaptable and surprisingly

diverse. They lived in both rock shelters and semi subterranean "pit houses". They farmed and

used hunting and foraging to supply their food.

Recently unveiled this year, the Range Creek site holds important clues. The ruins aren't as

spectacular as their neighbors to the south the master-builder Anasazis. Still, Range Creek is

amazingly pristine and should provide and rare window into the lives of these people.

Due to it's remote location, it has eluded the threat of looters and the excavations of

archaeologists. A local farmer had guarded the site for over half a century, until selling it in 2001

for $2.5 million. Being 34 miles from the nearest paved road, and it's high inaccessibility helped

to preserve the site.

"Researchers have just begun surveying the canyon, but already the ruins are raising

tantalizing questions" said archaeologist Jerry Spangler, author of a recent book on the Fremont

called Horned Snakes and Axle Grease. The remains of a few pit houses are 30 feet in diameter,

that's three times larger than the typical Fremont pit house. Many had long thought the Fremont

were simple farmers who lived in small family groups. But these "mini mansions suggest that

some lived with extended families or had strong enough bonds to live communally with other families.

Range Creek may also reveal more about the relationship between the Fremont and Anasazi,

who had long suffered comparison. At Range Creek, almost all the settlements are littered with

Anasazi as well as Fremont pottery. Archaeologist are not such what to make of this mingling.

One possibility is that the two groups traded with each other.

The Fremont raised corn, beans, and squash, but relied heavily on wild food and hunting. They

left behind distinctive



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