Fremont archaeology, chronology, radiocarbon dating


The dating of Fremont sites is based almost entirely on radiocarbon dates. A large number of dates exist from the region as a whole, but many of the largest Fremont sites are poorly dated. Most of the important sites excavated prior to the 1980s have at best a few dates, and many of the dates that do exist are on charcoal from structural wood. In some cases the only available dates are clearly centuries too early for the sites and structures they purport to date. In addition to problems with the data, some reports and publications about Fremont archaeology make statements about Fremont chronology that do not actually rely on the available radiocarbon dates. Instead, they recycle assertions about Fremont chronology that have been repeated for decades and ultimately are based on dubious (or at least debatable) interpretations of small numbers of charcoal dates obtained in the 1960s and 1970s. Based on the much larger number of dates now available, including a number of not-yet-published AMS dates on cultigens from some of the classic Fremont sites, this paper reexamines the dating of individual sites and the Fremont tradition as a whole.

Original Publication Citation

James R. Allison 2016 Rethinking Fremont Chronology. Paper presented at the 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date





Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor