Long before Euro-Americans
entered the Great Basin
, substantial numbers of people lived within
the present boundaries of Utah. Archaeological reconstructions suggest
human habitation stretching back some 12,000 years. The earliest known
inhabitants were members of what has been termed the Desert Archaic
Culture--nomadic hunter-gatherers with developed basketry, flaked-stem
stone tools, and implements of wood and bone. They inhabited the region
between 10,000 B.C. and A.D. 400. These peoples moved in extended family
units, hunting small game and gathering the periodically abundant seeds
and roots in a slightly more cool and moist Great Basin environment.
About A.D. 400,
the Fremont Culture began to emerge
in northern and eastern Utah out of this Desert tradition. The Fremont
peoples retained many Desert hunting-gathering characteristics yet also
incorporated a maize-bean-squash horticultural component by A.D. 800-900.
They lived in masonry structures and made sophisticated basketry, pottery,
and clay figurines for ceremonial purposes. Intrusive Numic peoples
displaced or absorbed the Fremont sometime after A.D. 1000.