Small Artifact, Big Find for Color Country Bureau of Land Management


A clay vessel recently recovered by a Bureau of Land Management staff member and students from the youth recovery program is believed to be of Fremont Indian heritage.

According to, the term Fremont is “a catch-all term used to describe scattered groups of hunters and farmers as diverse as the landscapes they inhabited and somewhat difficult to classify.

“Most archaeologists believe that between 2500 and 1500 years ago, the existing groups of hunter-gatherers on the Colorado Plateau and eastern Great Basin gradually developed into the Fremont.”

The find was exciting to Craig Harmon, an archaeologist from the BLM Richfield Field Office.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life and I’ve been working in this field since ’77. This piece is very special for a number of different reasons but first and foremost its integrity is nearly intact, only a few hairline cracks, it’s a real beauty.”

Harmon gave the youth program credit for treating the find properly and thinks this shows how much archaeological education is making a difference.

“These days a lot of what you hear in the news centers around the problems of today’s youth, here’s an example of the next generation doing the right thing, the right thing in not disturbing the artifact and doing the right thing by reporting the find to proper authorities.”

Retrieving the pot was tenuous and involved climbing steep slopes and carefully extricating the artifact. Harmon’s next step is finding the vessel’s rightful owners. He has already contacted the Ute, Paiute, Zuni, Hopi and Navajo tribes. Where the clay pot ends up will depend on consultations with the tribes.

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