The Fremont tradition developed on the northern Colorado Plateau and eastern Great Basin between A.D. 1 and A.D. 1350 (Talbot 2000a). Research on exotics in the Fremont area, specifically turquoise and Olivella shell, has been sporadic until recently (Hughes and Bennyhoff 1986; McDonald 1994; Janetski 2002). In this thesis, I present new data on Olivella and turquoise artifacts found throughout the Fremont region, including the Parowan Valley sites, Nephi Mounds, and Kay's Cabin, as well as a spatial distribution of Olivella and turquoise in the Fremont area. I performed microprobe analysis on blue-green artifacts from Kay's Cabin and found most are turquoise, although other minerals including variscite, azurite, malachite, and possibly chrysocolla are also present. Also, various experimental methods were used to chemically characterize a turquoise artifact from Parowan Valley (see Appendix A). I analyzed over 350 Olivella artifacts (see Appendix B) and examined modern Olivella shells; therefore, I provide a discussion of the details and differences between the O. biplicata and O. dama species. Through testing Janetski's (2002) trade fair model, I readdress the question of whether or not Olivella and turquoise were distributed across the Fremont region via directional or down-the-line exchange. My research supports Janetski's model and shows that Fremont exotic exchange moved directionally, with Olivella and turquoise artifacts concentrated at central sites on the Fremont landscape. I also explore the possibility that the exchange of Olivella and turquoise to the Fremont area was conducted through different networks. It appears, based on high numbers of turquoise at certain sites and high frequencies of Olivella artifacts at other sites, that these ornaments were not traded together. I examine whether exotic artifacts were differentially distributed among sites in Parowan Valley and within the specific sites and I observed that Olivella and turquoise are most often associated with living areas.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Anthropology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Fremont, trade, exchange, Olivella, turquoise, chemical analysis, exotics, distribution, Parowan Valley



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Anthropology Commons