Moving beyond Boundaries: Fremont and Anasazi Archaeology and Rock Art in Southeastern Utah
AuthorNeal, Leticia Ann
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Southeastern Utah was occupied by groups for whom movement, abandonment, and resettlement was a way of life. Although the Fremont and the Anasazi are often conceptualized as distinct cultural traditions, underlying similarities in lifeways are embodied in their use and conception of the landscape in the Moab area. The Colorado River is often used to demarcate the boundary between the Fremont and the Anasazi. Generally, Fremont rock art styles and sites are located north of the Colorado River, while Anasazi rock art styles and sites are south of the Colorado River. The distribution of Anasazi and Fremont sites, ceramics, and rock art imagery indicate social interaction and a fluctuating border as people, pots, and rock art imagery moved across this frontier. Rock art, in conjunction with other lines of archaeological evidence, provides a unique opportunity to explore the dynamic relationships among communities. The archaeology around Moab and south into San Juan County indicates that the strongest source of Ancestral Puebloan influence was from people of Mesa Verde heritage, a result of migration into southeastern Utah. In contrast to this pattern, there is a high frequency of Fremont or Fremont-like rock art. I propose that the stylistic expressions found in rock art are a result of cultural transmission where some cultural variants were preferentially adopted over others and in turn symbolically displayed in rock art.