Lost City Museum: A Hidden Gem on Southern Nevada’s Arrowhead Trail

May 2024

Our Monthly Speaker Series proudly hosted Virginia Lucas - Curator and Archaeologist at the Lost City Museum.

Completed in 1935, the Boulder Dam Park Museum was built to house the artifacts from excavations at Lake Mead. The museum was originally located at St. Thomas before moving to its current location in 1935. The museum existed as the Boulder Dam Park Museum for the next 15 years. In the early 1950s, the museum transferred to state control, and the name changed to what it is today – the Lost City Museum. While several Civilian Conservation Corps crews worked on the building of the Hoover (Boulder) Dam, Ohio Company 573 and Company 538 were sent to excavate where the lake would ultimately form. The Lost City Museum will soon celebrate its 90th Anniversary, and while the building has had some additions through the years, it remains a place for people to learn about the indigenous peoples that lived and thrived in the Moapa Valley a thousand years ago. This presentation will showcase photos from the 1925 and 1926 Pageant as well as video clips from the 1920s and 1930s excavations.  

Watch a recording of the talk on our YouTube Channel here.

Sloan Canyon's Cultural Heritage

April 2024

Dr. Samantha Rubinson, Program Coordinator for the Nevada Site Stewardship Program and Non-Voting Board Member for NVFCP, provided a talk for the Sloan Canyon Speaker Series organized by the Bureau of Land Management at the West Henderson Library. She discussed the rich cultural resources of the area and how citizens can help care for them. 

Learn more about upcoming events on the library's website here.

Spring Mountain National Recreation Area and Managing Prehistoric Sites

March 2024

Our Monthly Speaker Series proudly hosted Marty McMahon, District Archaeologist for the U.S. Forest Service - Humboldt-Toiyabe NF, Spring Mountains NRA.

There are more than 900 identified archaeological sites on the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area lands. And that just the ones we know of. Not all of them are Native American or prehistoric but over 71% are or are part of a multicomponent site.  

Petroglyphs and Pictographs are especially sensitive to the Tribes and have a high potential for looting and vandalism. We have the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (1979) to help federal land managers prosecute looters or vandals (If they’re caught). The photo above is a Petroglyph boulder that was taken from Forest Service managed lands and by chance the person was caught. Fortunately, it was returned to its original resource area.

To watch a video of this Zoom Webinar click the link.


Valley of Fire Field School 2024

February/March 2024

Nevadans for Cultural Preservation was invited to talk to students at their field school at Valley of Fire State Park. We discussed the importance of considering modern human visitation as part of the management of cultural resources. 

The field school is gathering important archaeological data for State Parks future management. State Parks partnered with the University of Nevada Las Vegas, College of Southern Nevada, and Nevada Site Stewardship Program. NVFCP provides public archaeology education and some equipment.  

Cold War-era Nuclear Testing Resources at the Nevada National Security Site

February 2024

Presenter: Greg Haynes, Associate Research Professor, Desert Research Institute

During the Cold War, the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) was used as the nation’s nuclear testing ground; from 1951 to 1992 100 atmospheric and 828 underground tests were conducted there. Over the years, historic preservation efforts by Desert Research Institute (DRI) on behalf of the National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Field Office (NNSA/NFO) have documented a wide variety of cultural resources on the NNSS from Native American archaeological sites to late twentieth century Cold War-era architectural resources. This talk will discuss the kinds of cultural resources present on the NNSS but will focus on two specially designed Cold War properties: the Huron King Test Chamber and what are colloquially known as Glass Houses.

Photo: The Huron King Test Chamber in 2022. This mobile chamber tested the effects of an electromagnetic pulse on a defense communications satellite housed within its interior.

This talk is part of our Monthly Speaker Series. A recording of the Zoom Webinar can be found on our YouTube Channel here

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

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