Monday, September 27, 2004

CSI: Range Creek

Mystery tribe
What happened to the Fremont Indians? New discoveries may tell their tale at last

The demise of the Fremont Indians is one of North American archaeology's most enduring mysteries. The group, which flourished for 600 years in the rugged terrain between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada, were adaptable and surprisingly diverse: Some lived in semisubterranean "pit houses," others in rock shelters. They farmed but also hunted and foraged for food. Yet despite their adaptability, things went south for the Fremont around A.D. 1250. Within a century, their culture had virtually vanished.

So, what became of them? The Range Creek site, unveiled this year, holds important clues.