Ancient Fremont bowl found in southern Utah

Cedar City, Utah (AP) May 2011

An ancient clay bowl in excellent condition has been recovered in a remote area of southern Utah by federal land managers.

The bowl is believed to have been made by members of the Fremont Indian culture nearly 1,000 years ago, the Salt Lake Tribune and The Spectrum of St. George reported.

The federal Bureau of Land Management was notified after members of a youth wilderness therapy group found it earlier this month under a rock overhang in the Henry Mountains in Garfield County. BLM staffers then recovered the bowl.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life and I’ve been working in this field since ‘77,” said Craig Harmon, archaeologist for the BLM’s field office in Richmond. “This piece is very special for a number of different reasons, but first and foremost its integrity is nearly intact. (There are) only a few hairline cracks, it’s a real beauty.”

About 7 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches deep, the bowl also is decorated with geometric patterns in black paint.

Harmon said he has contacted the Ute, Paiute, Zuni, Hopi and Navajo tribes in an effort to find the bowl’s rightful owners. Final disposition of the artifact will be determined through consultations with the tribes, he said.

Recovery of the bowl was difficult as it involved a hike up steep slopes and delicate extrication of the artifact, BLM officials said.

Harmon praised the youth group participants for notifying authorities of the find and leaving it alone.

“These days a lot of what you hear in the news centers around the problems of today’s youth. Here’s an example of the next generation doing the right thing – the right thing in not disturbing the artifact and doing the right thing by reporting the find to proper authorities,” he said.