Blog Archive: archaeology

Bold Figures, Blurred History: The Great Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon

The Great Gallery is one of the most significant pictograph panels in the American Southwest, yet archaeologists have struggled over when it was created and what it could mean.

In the Tiny World of Starch Grains, Bigger is Better

It takes a thorough understanding of the biology of starch to determine which starch grains are being recovered from archaeological sites. Lisbeth Louderback, our Curator of Archaeology, has discovered that bigger grains yield the best information for identification purposes.

Good News About Carbs, Told by Archaeobotanists

By studying the diets of ancient peoples, archaeobotanists may help to provide some answers for modern agricultural challenges. Carbohydrate-rich plants are adding to the story of ancient agriculture and plant domestication.

The Promontory Culture: Subarctic Canadian People Living in Utah Caves

One of the true American anthropological treasures, a trove of 250 moccasins and leather parts, was found in caves on the Great Salt Lake – after careful study and re-shaping, it seems that they belonged to people from subarctic Canada rather than the Fremont or Shoshone people who inhabited Utah.

Alcohol, Leather & Time

In 2001, NHMU received a Save America’s Treasures Grant to restore an amazing cache of moccasins found in the Promontory Point caves. The conservation work was methodical and meticulous, and as a result, the conserved and reshaped moccasins are available for generations of researchers to study.

This was the Place: Athabaskans Gambling on a New Life in the South

New evidence discovered in the Promontory caves reveals that a group of fantastic hunters and lovers of games and gambling were the inhabitants. Archaeologist and friend of NHMU, Jack Ives, believes that they were an Athabaskan or Dene-speaking culture from subarctic Canada, making friends in Utah.

Utah, home to the oldest chocolate in the U.S.

Producing artisan chocolate is hot in Utah today, but our history with cacao dates back further than you'd think.

Utah’s Ancient Cacao: A Surprising Find

No archaeologist would have guessed it, but the oldest evidence of cacao use in the Southwestern U.S. was found in an Ancestral Puebloan village in Utah.

Cacao in Chaco Canyon

A cache of 181 cylindrical vessels found in Chaco Canyon, NM, was the first evidence that cacao had made its way into the American Southwest by 1100 A.D.