It was through a fortuitous collaboration of agencies and organizations that the Conservancy was able to acquire Paragonah Mounds, a very large Fremont village in Utah’s Parowan Valley. Although, according to historical documents, the site had more than 400 mounds covering close to a square mile in the late 1800s, the largest remaining intact portion is a 12-acre site containing 28 mounds. Nonetheless, the site, which dates between A.D. 700 and 1300, is still one of the largest Fremont villages known in the state. While farming and residential development have destroyed much of the enormous site over the years, what remains is well preserved.
The site’s acquisition is a remarkable story of collaboration that began with the unfortunate 2008 disturbance of a site dating from the Archaic through Fremont periods by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) during the construction of a light rail line in Draper, Utah. Consequently, the Army Corps of Engineers, the permitting agency for the project, issued a notice of non-compliance and a stop work order to the UTA, penalizing them with a substantial fine. A portion of the fine was allocated for the acquisition of another significant archaeological site in Utah to “replace” the one that was damaged.
The UTA contacted the Conservancy for assistance in the identification of an appropriate site that could be established as a permanent archaeological preserve. The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah was also involved in the acquisition of Paragonah Mounds with Mr. Robb, the tribe’s director of economic development, acting as its representative. Being a life-long resident of the region, Robb knew of a number of other archaeological sites in the area, including another ancient village called the Virgin River Village. Thus through this unfortunate event we were able to preserve several amazing Utah sites.
Read the 2013 Article “The Conservancy Preserves One Of The Largest Known Fremont Sites,” page 44, American Archaeology, Fall 2013.
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