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Pharo Village, Alluvial Geochronology, Climate, and Implications for Fremont Site Occupation and Abandonment
AuthorManiery, Andrea Ellen
AdvisorMorgan, Christopher T.
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The results of geoarchaeological investigations at Pharo Village, a Fremont hamlet situated on a large alluvial fan in central Utah, are discussed in order to reveal ways in which changes in landform dynamics contributed to the rise of Fremont occupation there as well as to the site’s eventual abandonment. Cutbanks along Pharo Creek, the stream adjacent to Pharo Village, were mapped and sampled during fieldwork in 2013. Field and subsequent laboratory analysis resulted in reconstruction of the alluvial geochronology of the stream and the geomorphological history of its adjacent landforms. Carbon samples from mapped strata and buried paleosols were radiocarbon dated and correlated to additional dates generated from the site’s archaeological collection housed at the Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU). Projectile points in the NHMU collection were also analyzed in order to further refine when site occupations occurred. Redating of the site indicate Pharo Village had three periods of occupation, with two of three site abandonments correlating with regional drought events. Buried soils in mapped sections indicate a period of stability on the landform where Pharo Village is located prior to and likely during the site’s occupation, suggesting landform stability encouraged Fremont use of the site. The final abandonment of the site ca. 600 cal BP occurred before or during a transition to a more active geomorphic environment marked by flooding and considerable deposition. This abandonment is also consistent with the general temporal span for the cessation of Fremont lifeways in the region and a major regional megadrought.