Discover the past through archaeological evidence from a site in Utah!
In this investigation, students will use geography, history, and archaeology to learn about a pithouse and the Fremont people who lived in them. Examine illustrations, artifacts, and maps of the Fremont Pithouse located in central Utah. Students meet Rick and Rena. Pikyavit, Southern. Paiute tribal members, through reading a biography and oral histories. Then they “uncover” a real archaeological site, classify artifacts, and infer how the geographic area of Utah shaped the pithouse.  Explore the use of a pithouse and the cultural correlations today.

  • Includes text by and about Southern Paiute tribal members
  • Supports Common Core State Standards
  • Incorporates authentic data for students to analyze



"We must take special care to protect and preserve pithouses, and the rest of the physical remains left behind by Fremont Indians at sites like Five Finger Ridge. The information we get from the sites tells the story of the people who lived there, what their lives were like, and the things that were important to them. Like putting a puzzle together, gathering each small piece of information helps us to see the bigger picture of Fremont life."

--Rich Talbot, Archaeologist

"When the Common Core was adopted, we were told that we were not expected to broaden the amount of material being taught, but we were to add more depth. Project Archaeology gives me all sorts of ways to deepen the curriculum for my students. It's an added bonus that I'm positive they will really enjoy learning it.”

--Utah teacher


When you buy Investigating a Fremont Pithouse you will also receive the essential companion products: Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter and access to online introductory videos.

Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter provides teachers and students with seven fundamental lessons on shelter and archaeology. With this pre-requisite, students are ready for Lesson Eight, an investigation of a shelter from the past, such as the Fremont Pithouse. Finally, in Lesson Nine of Investigating Shelter students learn the enduring understanding that stewardship of archaeological sites and artifacts is everyone’s responsibility. Taught together, Investigating Shelter and “Investigating a Fremont Pithouse” is a complete, comprehensive unit that truly allows for a deep understanding of shelter and archaeology. More information

Investigating Shelter videos are a professional development experience for educators in lieu of attending a Project Archaeology workshop. Watch Project Archaeology lessons in action! See a professional development workshop and a teacher guiding a 4th grade class through Investigating Shelter. Instructors model Understanding by Design and archaeological inquiry. Plus, see interviews with teachers and students! The videos are also available on our Teacher Page.

    1. Introduction – Why archaeology matters
    2. Investigating Shelter and Understanding by Design
    3. Lesson Two: By Our Houses You Will Know Us
    4. Lesson Four: Observation, Inference, and Evidence
    5. Lesson Six: Context Game
    6. Lesson Eight: Being an Archaeologist