Why We Went There
For archaeologists to have access to a place like Range Creek — basically a Fremont landscape frozen in time — is a rare and exciting research opportunity. The entire scope of a vanished people patiently awaits discovery within the canyon walls. Pithouses, rock shelters, and storage sites will keep archaeologists busy in Range Creek for decades. With a climate kind to perishable materials, even organic remains have survived the test of time. Adobe granaries are still held aloft with sticks and twine and they might still been full of corn if the rats hadn't found them first.
Range Creek is now being preserved as an 'outdoor laboratory' for scientists. Busy researchers can be found scattered throughout the canyon in the summer months, in some cases literally clinging to the walls! Survey crews boldly strive to document even the most remote pockets of Range Creek. These efforts are often rewarded with thousand-year-old mud fingerprints, ancient corncobs or new evidence highlighting unusual Fremont survival techniques.
Time Team was lucky enough to get an invitation to the site by lead scientist Duncan Metcalfe from the Utah Museum of Natural History. Duncan runs a field school for a few fortunate students who get to live and work in the canyon each summer. Time Team loaded up their caravans and made the long windy journey through the mountains and into Range Creek Canyon. Camping under the stars by night, fording wild creeks, and braving the rough and dusty roads by day, the Team set out to explore the natural and cultural wonders of the canyon.
With just three days, Time Team was focused on helping Duncan and his crew get a closer look at the Fremont granaries and boost the ongoing investigation at the Big Village site. In order to help out with the formidable task of documenting such a large site, Time Team trucked in cutting-edge survey technology to take 3-D scans of the fragile rock art and the geophysics team conducted several different types of surveys, which will give archaeologists valuable data for future research. Time Team also brought dedicated digger-turned-mountaineer, Jeff Brown, who was bound and determined to tackle the mystery of those quirky granaries head-on!