Shifting Subsistence Along the Lakeshore: Surf and Turf at Ivanpah, CA

January 2024

Presentation by Kara Jones, Graduate Student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas 

The Mojave Desert is a host of many now desiccated Holocene Lakes. A 2018 geological study conducted by Spaulding and Sims revealed that Ivanpah Lake is not a Holocene Lake as previously thought, but rather a paleolake. This lake, which consistently dried and refilled until approximately 1,000 years ago, created a lush wetland landscape with abundant resources. Subsistence adaptations at Ivanpah Lake include wetland geophyte processing in thermal features, hunting game, and harvesting freshwater crustaceans. Fishing features at lakes in the Mojave Desert are rare but do occur. These fishing features include fishing platforms and catchments, connecting this area to the fishing traditions seen throughout the region. This discovery increases the likelihood of similar finds in other understudied Holocene lakes in the area, specifically those known to host other phyllopod populations. These results have meaningful implications considering the overlap of the study area with the intersection of two important indigenous trails, the Salt Song trail and Southern Fox Song trail. The conclusions drawn from this research create an argument for increased protection and preservation of the entire Ivanpah Lake region and the value of nondestructive research methods by drawing on existing data.

A video of this talk is available on our YouTube Chanel here.

Archaeology Day at the Lost City Museum

January 2024

NVFCP was invited to have an outreach booth at the annual Archaeology Day at the Lost City Museum in Overton, NV. Our booth focused on the importance of context (the connection between artifacts and where they were originally left). We used projectile points to demonstrate this concept. Participants were asked to put three different points in order from the oldest to the newest. We then connected the point types to their time frames, the environment, and technology used at the time (spears, atlatl darts, and bow and arrow). We explained that if archaeologists find just one of these, it can tell us so much about the past. We also linked context to obsidian sources, showing that if the points are made from obsidian we can tell how far the obsidian traveled as well. 

Along with this lesson, we encouraged folks to become part of our OHV Preservation Ambassador program and/or to report damages they find to cultural sites. A volunteer from the Dunes and Trails ATV/UTV Club helped out during the event.

Spotlight on Aeronautical Archaeology

December 2023

Presentation by Jeffrey Wedding, Desert Research Institute

Aeronautical archaeology is the sub-field of archaeology that examines past human interaction with flight. Jeff provided examples of aviation-related sites he has researched and recorded including a Douglas Skyraider crash site in Nye County, a Vultee BT-13 lost in Lake Mead, and a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird crash site near Shoshone, California. He also discussed a temporary Northrop research hangar site that once stood at Roach Dry Lake.

Photo: Douglas Skyraider crash site

A video of this talk is available on our YouTube Chanel here.

Get Outdoors Nevada Presentation

November 2023

NVFCP's Executive Director, Rayette Martin, was invited to share the Explore, Report, Protect message and general information about our organization with staff and volunteers at Get Outdoors Nevada (GON). Rayette was able to pass around artifacts and explain the importance of preserving cultural resources in context. We hope attendees can incorporate that into their activities. GON's mission is to connect Nevadans and visitors from all backgrounds and ages to the state’s diverse outdoor places. To this end, they pursue a three-fold approach of education, service, and community engagement. Many of their efforts and programs focus on the needs and lives of families and school children, especially those who are at-risk and often have limited opportunity to experience the great outdoors.  

The Mesa House Ruin

November 2023

"The Mesa House Ruin and its role in defining Virgin Anasazi archaeology in Southern Nevada"

Presentation by archaeologist, Justin DeMaio

The Mesa House ruin is a pueblo site dating to the late Pueblo II – early Pueblo III period (AD. 1150-1300) and is associated with the Virgin Anasazi archaeological cultural sequence. It is located on a ridge overlooking the Muddy River in Overton, NV and is one of the earliest sites investigated by archaeologists in the region, specifically Irwin Hayden who was under a permit from another well known archaeologist at that time, Mark Raymond Harrington. Mesa House is significant for the role the site has played in the history of the development of archaeological research within the State of Nevada and is the type site for this phase of the Virgin Anasazi. The Bureau of Reclamation currently manages this property and this talk will discuss the history of research there, the collection of artifacts recovered, and what future plans the bureau has for the management of the site, including a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

Watch a video recording of the Zoom presentation on our YouTube Channel by clicking here

UT/AZ/NV Site Stewardship Get-Together

November 2023

NVFCP was privileged to be invited to attend the first ever tri-state stewardship get-together. Volunteer site stewards and program staff from the three states met in Kanab, UT for a two-day event. The first day started with a workshop on food processing presented by the Nevada program. NVFCP assisted with teaching how to utilize sinew and create cordage from plant fibers. After lunch, a workshop was held photographing damage to a site like it is a crime scene followed by a wonderful lithics workshop. Later in the day, presentations were provided by all three state stewardship programs. They covered their accomplishments, honored volunteers, and touched on their future goals. A dinner of pizza and salad was provided.

The second day was all about the fieldtrip to nearby Pipe Springs National Monument. Attendees were treated to an interpreted walk around the grounds and had some more time to socialize and get to know fellow stewards. Pipe Springs is a small park but full of history that is representative of the contact era when the LDS or Mormons settled on the homelands of the southern Paiute.  

REI Outdoor Recreation Mixer

November 2023

NVFCP was invited on a weekday evening to connect and network with fellow organizations that serve outdoor recreation in Southern Nevada. The meeting room at the Boca Park location was full of folks ready to learn more about each organizations mission and goals for 2024. NVFCP shared our desire to  advertise the opportunity for land users to report damages to cultural sites in Nevada and the need for more OHV Preservation Ambassadors. 

NVFCP is involved in graffiti removal at cultural sites. Sometimes the sites are very difficult to access. The kind owners of Cowboy Trail Rides offered us use of mules to haul in supplies and equipment if needed. What a cool collaboration opportunity! 

We also got to meet and learn more about: 

  • Blacks in Nature
  • Friends of Nevada Wilderness
  • Protectors of Thule Springs
  • Wetlands Park Friends
  • Get Outdoors Nevada
  • Amargosa Conservancy
  • The Pride Tree
  • Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition
  • Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition
  • Project Green: Friends of Pittman Wash
  • Nevada Conservation League
  • and more

Virgin Valley Artist Association Brown Bag

October 2023

NVFCP received an invitation to present at the Brown Bag Series hosted by the Virgin Valley Artist Association. The event was also live-streamed on the Friends of Gold Butte Facebook page.

Rayette Martin, the Executive Director of NVFCP, delivered a presentation emphasizing the significance of preserving our cultural heritage in its original context. She showcased the detrimental effects caused by disrespectful visitors and urged everyone to promptly report any such damages they encounter. Attendees also gained insights into NVFCP's ongoing programs and projects and were encouraged to explore ways to become involved. We were delighted to share this valuable information with Mesquite residents and the dedicated followers of the Friends of Gold Butte Facebook page.

White River Narrows Graffiti Camouflage

October 2023

NVFCP Executive Director, Rayette Martin and President, Katie Hoffman joined Stratum Unlimited LLC for a graffiti camouflage and documentation project in White River Narrows Archaeological District in Basin and Range National Monument. For approximately two weeks, a team of experts color and texture matched scratched and incised graffiti in the district so that the petroglyphs would return to being the main focal point. Both Rayette and Katie have art backgrounds that serve them in this type of project.


Read more

A Pilot Project in Public Science

October 2023

Megan Stueve, Archaeologist at the Desert Research Institute

An archaeology site in Lincoln County has been used in a pilot project to bring science directly into classrooms and homes around the state. Aimed at reducing access barriers to sites of cultural importance, these virtual outdoor experiences provide a new way for people to immerse themselves in prehistory without having to worry about transportation, entrance fees, hiking abilities, or ADA accessibility.

Check out the StoryMap which contains these virtual outdoor experiences. 

Watch a video of the presentation on our YouTube Chanel here

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