Danger Cave State Historical Monument
Archaeological site in the Bonneville Basin where archaeologists have found artifacts of the Desert Culture from about 9500 BCE until 500 CE. The extremely dry cave had created an ideal storage condition that preserved a variety of artifacts.
Backstory and Context
The data collected from the cave led Jennings to startling new conclusions about a previously unknown, ancient Desert Culture in the western U.S. Evidence from Danger Cave suggested that this desert population was sparse, with small social units of extended families numbering no more than 25 to 30 people. The quest for food in cyclic wanderings required most of the energy of these kinship groups. They harvested pine nuts and small seeds, roasted their meats, and utilized caves and overhangs for shelter. According to Jennings, life in this primitive culture was "directly and continuously focused on sheer survival." "In such situations," he wrote, "there is little leisure, and almost no certainty about the morrow. No long-term building projects, no complicated rituals, no extensive amassing of personal property nor any long range plans can be undertaken in such circumstances." Despite its uncertainty the Desert Culture persisted for thousands of years and eventually became the basis for other early Utah cultures such as that of the Fremont.