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Film crew to document Range Creek this week

Range Creek is a treasure chest full of untouched artifacts and pit houses.

By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

A brand-new PBS series, Time Team America, will film a one-hour episode at the Range Creek archeological site July 22 - 24. The site is deep within the dramatic rock canyons of Utah's Castle Country. Time Team America's mix of archaeologists, scientists and 15-20 production crew members will be hosted by the archaeology field school at Range Creek.

Until recently, the Range Creek site was held by a ranching family who bought the land in 1951. For decades they kept quiet about the ruins and artifacts strewn across their property. But in 2001, Waldo Wilcox sold the ranch and its archeological treasure-trove to a nonprofit trust (the State of Utah now owns the site).

Once archaeologists were allowed in, they were stunned by the well-preserved petroglyphs, pit-houses, and granaries poking out of the rock cliffs in the Wilcox's backyard. These rich archeological finds point to a thriving settlement of Fremont people, a corn farming and hunter/gatherer society that lived in the western U.S. from 500-1350 AD. Why their civilization abruptly ended after 700 years is a mystery to archaeologists, who theorize that the Fremont could have been driven into the cliffs - and perhaps out of existence - by drought, disease, food shortages, religious upheaval, or invaders.

With just 72 hours onsite, the Time Team America cohorts will:

Use state-of-the-art ground-penetrating radar to reveal the footprint of a pre-historic building at the center of five Fremont pit houses. This technology has never been used on this site before.

Excavate the structure to find out how it was used. Use laser scanning technology to capture fading petroglyphs and explain what they mean. Climb sheer rock cliffs to examine the contents of ancient granaries. Re-create the process of making a granary from materials and tools the Fremont people would have used. Gather ancient pollen samples to learn more about plant life of the period and the diets of the Fremont people. Combine the knowledge of historians, archaeologists, and period experts so the team's visual experts so the team's visual artist can sketch what daily life was like for the Fremont.

Time Team America will bring an array of resources, experts, and the latest technology to the dig at Range Creek. According to Executive Producer David Davis, "Archaeology can be very exciting when you have all of these tools at your disposal. The audience can follow along as we make our discoveries."

Range Creek is Time Team America's fourth archeological dig in a five-site tour. This summer the team has also searched for the lost tribe at Roanoke Island, unearthed evidence of the first human inhabitants of the Americas in North Carolina, and chased the mystery of a vanished 19th century Illinois town. The series is slated for national broadcast on PBS in 2009.

Time Team America is an exciting new PBS television series that puts viewers in the trenches to experience archaeology as it happens.

Each episode unleashes a cohort of archaeologists, landscape specialists, scientists, historians, and other experts onto an American archeological dig site.

For three days, viewers follow the team as they work to solve the mysteries of the site with state of the art technology, visualization techniques, and good old-fashioned archaeology.

Viewers eavesdrop on conversations between experts, see artifacts emerge from the ground, and watch over the shoulders of archaeologists to experience the thrill of archaeology without ever having to pick up a trowel.




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