Affiliation: Utah Museum of Natural History; Salt Lake Community College
Working in rural Utah’s Range Creek Canyon, Renee Barlow is glad when she can get a hot shower after a long day excavating. An average day for her consists of bear spotting and then rappelling 60 feet down a cliff to a ledge to access ancient granaries. Barlow was born in New Jersey, and her mother said she knew her daughter was going to be an archaeologist by age three. She moved to Utah in 1980 to study at Brigham Young University and has been here doing archaeology ever since. Barlow also studies native plants. She collects and processes berries, seeds, and pine nuts to gain a better understanding of the behaviors of ancient people, especially women. Her experiments in graduate school at the University of Utah earned her the nickname “Pickleweed Queen.” She is also fascinated by why the pottery, rock art, figurines and farming villages of the people who lived in this region disappeared to such an extent that they became archaeologically invisible after more than 700 years of apparent success.