Ancient Caves of the Great Salt Lake Region

Ancient Caves of the Great Salt Lake Region

Ancient Caves of the Great Salt Lake Region

Ancient Caves of the Great Salt Lake Region

Excerpt

Archeological field work of the University of Utah in 1930 and 1931 was carried on in the vicinity of Great Salt Lake, attention being devoted to caves which had once been submerged by Lake Bonneville. As test pits showed that certain of these had been occupied by human beings when the subsidence of the lake first left them dry and habitable, the work was pursued with the aim of discovering ancient cultures which could be dated by reference to the chronology of the lake. Although absolute age estimates in this matter are subject to the usual reservations involved in geological reckoning so that they can serve only as working hypotheses, and although future geological and archeological research may require a radical revision of these estimates, the stratigraphic relationship of artifacts in individual sites and the correlation of the sites with stages of Lake Bonneville will always remain valid. The paucity of artifacts unfortunately prevents adequately defining the earliest cultures, but it is felt that, in view of the great gap in the archeological record between the ancient Gypsum Cave and Basket Maker cultures of the Southwest and the serious lack of other archeological data from the Great Basin, they should be placed on record with tentative estimates of their antiquity.

CHRONOLOGY OF LAKE BONNEVILLE. -- Preliminary to a description of the individual caves and cultures, geological facts which are pertinent to the question of chronology will be considered. The early epochs of Lake Bonneville are complex and imperfectly known and are irrelevant to our problem. We are concerned merely with its last great rise and subsequent recession.1 At its greatest depth, Lake Bonneville stood 1,000 feet above the level of Great Salt Lake, where it eroded a clearly marked shore line known as the Bonneville . . .

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