least two Paleo-Indian cultural sites (12,000-8,500 before present)
have been located in the Uinta Basin. These people were primarily hunters
of the mammoth, bison, and other big game. During the Archaic period
(8,500-2,500 B.P.), the basin was occupied by Plateau Archaic People,
people were gatherers as well as hunters. More recently, people identified
with the Fremont Culture have occupied the Uinta Basin. The Fremont Culture parallels in time and development the better known Anasazi Culture.
People of the Fremont Culture lived in semi-subterranean shelters (kivas)
and were dependent primarily upon corn agriculture and hunting of smaller
game and fishing.
the ethnohistorical period (A.D. 1300 to present), the Uinta Basin has
been occupied by the Uinta-ats (Uinta), a band of Utes. The basin was
also occasionally visited by the Northern and Northwestern Shoshones.
The basin at one time was a rich provider of food and clothing for the
first white men to set eyes on the Uinta Basin and Uinta Mountains were
members of the small Spanish expedition from Santa Fe headed by Fray
Silvestre Velez de Escalante and Fray Francisco Atanasio Dominguez.
The expedition crossed into Utah and the Uinta Basin several miles northeast
of present day Jensen. These intrepid explorers opened the Uinta Basin
and the eastern portion of the Great Basin to Spanish, and later Mexican,
American, and British fur-trappers and traders. Between the late 1820s
and the 1840s the basin and mountains were visited by such men as William
H. Ashley, Etienne Provost, Antoine Robidoux, and Kit Carson. At least
two semipermanent trading posts were established in the basin: Fort
Robidoux, sometimes referred to as Fort Uintah or Winty (1830s-44) and
Fort Kit Carson (1833-34). Several important U.S. government expeditions
visited the area, including Captain John C. Fremont expedition in the
1840s, and Major John Wesley Powell who floated down the Green River from Green River, Wyoming in 1869 and again in 1871.