History of the Archaeology of the Lost City

July 2021

Virginia Lucas - Curator II/Archaeologist 

The Lost City Museum, originally known as the Boulder Dam Park Museum, was built in 1935 by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The museum was built to contain the artifacts received from archaeological sites that were going to be inundated by the waters of Lake Mead and the surrounding area. The site that is known as the Lost City and Pueblo Grande de Nevada was brought to the attention of Mark Harrington in the 1920’s. Archaeology continued in the Moapa Valley throughout the 1930’s, and in the mid-1950’s, the National Park Service turned over the museum to the state of Nevada. Work has continued in the Moapa Valley from the 1950’s through today. Currently, there are several graduate students working in the Lowlands of the Western Virgin Puebloan region, and some of these projects focus on subsistence of the peoples in the area.

A recording of this Zoom Webinar presentation can be viewed on NVFCP's YouTube Channel. Click here to watch the video. 

Desert Wranglers Cultural Resources Class

July 2021

Explore, Report, Protect Nevada’s History: A Class on Identifying and Caring for Cultural Sites

This class will taught Jeep club members about cultural resources throughout the state of Nevada. Participants learned how to identify archaeological and historic sites as well as artifacts that can be found at these sites. NVFCP provided a quick review of different laws related to the protection of cultural resources and tips for how participants can help protect these amazing places while they are out recreating and enjoying the public lands our state has to offer. 

Members of Jeep Clubs, like Desert Wranglers, frequent cultural sites. Their active involvement in preservation makes a huge impact. 

The Conservation and Management of Rock Art: An Integrated Approach

June 2021

Dr. Jannie Loubser, Archaeologist and Rock Art Specialist with Stratum Unlimited LLC 

Pictographs and petroglyphs are produced in such a fashion that they become an integral part of the rock surface. This is advantageous when viewed from a longevity point of view but also becomes a factor in making their detection more difficult, rendering their association with natural features less evident, and allowing for their landscape setting to be overlooked while focusing on close-up details. Baseline recording and condition assessment should accordingly aim to include information on various scales of inclusion, ranging from the microcosm of the rock surface to the macrocosm of site placement. Assessing the range of significance values in consultation with all stakeholders is also important, including Native American, historic, tourist, and research. Knowing the management history of a site and its surroundings are important to deiced on ways to manage sites in sustainable ways and also to help prevent vandalism. Appropriate preventative and hands-on management measures on the ground are more sustainable and affordable over the long term than repeated graffiti removal and/or camouflage. Graffiti mitigation should aim at minimal and repeatable techniques. Due to differing natural, cultural, and socio-economic contexts, site management strategies are not uniform and can range from a costly focal point approach, a low-level visitation approach, shut the site down approach, or even burying a site or remove it for safe-keeping to a building (the latter two alternatives should be avoided at all costs). Follow-up actions and monitoring are critical components in rock art conservation, allowing for the “tweaking” of infrastructural and damage remediation changes.

To watch a video recording of this Zoom Webinar click here.

Archaeology and Paleontology of Gypsum Cave

May 2021

Justin DeMaio, Archaeologist

Located just miles from the city of Las Vegas, Gypsum Cave is an important site to both local Native American groups and the scientific community. Archaeological and paleontological investigations have taken place in the cave since the 1920's, yielding evidence of prehistoric megafauna and artifacts. This presentation will discuss the work that has been done at the cave, show examples of what was found, and how these collections provide a comprehensive glimpse into the ancient biological and human history of the Las Vegas desert.

To watch a video recording of this Zoom Webinar click here.

Lewis Holes, Ceramics in the Mojave

April 2021

Kara Jones, Archaeologist and Graduate Student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Ceramics in the Mojave Desert are rare, but they do occur. The most common form of Mojave ceramics are those similar to Owens Valley Brownware and other coil and scrape plainware ceramic vessels. However, Tizon Brownware and Lower Colorado Buffware represent two recent and informative ceramic styles in the desert. These two types are made through paddle and anvil manufacture rather than coil and scrape. Investigations at Lewis Holes in 1968 and later in 2007 revealed a habitation site with 105 collected Lower Colorado Buffware ceramic sherds. A handful of these sherds make up at least one vessel with large preserved rim fragments, likely used for cooking. In this presentation Kara will contextualize the ceramics of Lewis Holes, in Nevada just outside the California border, within the greater ceramic framework of the Mojave Desert as well as interpreting the use of these ceramics and their cultural meaning.

To watch a video recording of this Zoom Webinar click here.

Land Use, Hunting Blinds, and Technological Change

March 2021

Land Use, Hunting Blinds, and Technological Change in the Mojave Sink: Recent Data from Afton Canyon

Dr. Barbara J. Roth, Department of Anthropology, UNLV

This presentation reported on the results of a survey of the rim and plateau above Afton Canyon in the Mojave Desert near Zzyzx, California. The goal of the survey was to determine how the sites fit into regional patterns of subsistence and settlement defined along Soda Playa (the southern portion of Pleistocene Lake Mojave).  Dr. Roth provided and overview of the sites they have found so far and discussed what they think was going on in the region during the Late Prehistoric period. Their survey identified a series of hunting blinds along Afton Canyon that they think were built and used following the introduction of the bow and arrow.  She explored what this data can tell us about how hunter-gatherers in the Mojave Desert responded to risk and climate change.

To watch a video recording of this presentation click here. You will be directed to NVFCP's YouTube Channel.

Cortez Mining District

February 2021

Dan Broockmann, Archaeologist, BLM Elko District -Tuscarora Field Office provided an hour long Zoom Webinar presentation on the Cortez Mining District. 

Hidden in the shadow of the Cortez gold mine, one of the largest gold mines in the world, are the remnants of an earlier history of mining that help us to understand the evolution of mining in northeastern Nevada.  Pioneered in 1863, the Cortez mining district has one of the longest continuous histories of mining in the state.  This length of history and it's unique ownership makes the Cortez mining district a pleasure to visit and a privilege to study.

To watch a video recording of this presentation click here. You will be directed to NVFCP's YouTube Channel.

Prehistory & History of the Clark County Wetlands Park

January 2021

Heidi Roberts of HRA Inc., Conservation Archaeology presented on her research into the past of the Clark County Wetlands located on the east side of Henderson, Nevada. The original focus of Heidi's talk was going to be about her excavations at the Larder Site but webinar attendees were provided information on so much more. She covered the time from about 12,000 years ago to 1910. There is a visitor's center and walking trails at the Clark County Wetlands Park and many of the artifacts she discusses in her presentation are housed at the Clark County Museum off of Boulder Highway in Henderson. See links below. This talk was hosted by Nevadans for Cultural Preservation and the Nevada Site Stewardship Program.

You can view a video of this presentation on NVFCP's YouTube Channel.

The Red Springs Complex: New Insights from Old Data

December 2020

The Red Springs Complex: New Insights from Old Data

Presentation by Dr. Kevin Rafferty -Professor Emeritus Department of Human Behavior, College of Southern Nevada

The Red Springs Site in Red Rock Canyon is one of the larger sites in the Spring Mountains, yet little has been published about it in either the grey literature or professional sources. It was excavated and collected by K.K.  Miller in the mid-1960s, with some minimal recording and testing work done in the late 1960s and 1990s, and a major joint ANS/SHPO recording project at the site was undertaken in the early 2000s.  In addition, Miller conducted artifact collection and minor excavations at other sites within the Calico Basin. All of these projects resulted in a significant corpus of data in the form of artifacts, photographs, and drawings/maps that have not been utilized to their fullest. The speaker, Dr. Kevin Rafferty, has begun a project of artifact re-analysis, photo and drawing re-examination from all the Calico Basin sites in an attempt to make some sense out of the breadth and scope of prehistoric settlement-subsistence activities in the Red Springs area.

A video of the zoom presentation can be seen on our YouTube Channel 

Virtually Adapting to A New Reality

November 2020

Presentation by Benjamin Van Alstyne
Ph.D. Student researching VR/AR/MR applications in Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

2020 is a year filled with many challenges, and a lot of them have to do with education and combating misinformation. Among these are the challenges of combating and helping people learn about our society's social injustices and systemic racism. Additionally, here in Southern Nevada, are the challenges that parents/guardians, students, and teachers are facing with distant learning. We are experiencing a historical triggering of major adaptive changes and rearrangements. But what does that mean for cultural preservation and helping educate the public? My research aims to engage the public remotely and help them learn about the richness of human diversity and its past through immersive and emotional experiences using Virtual Reality and 3D modelling; thereby creating resources for teachers to help their students learn through engaging experiences that promote empathy as they learn about other cultures and our past. And doing it in a way that doesn't restrict these experiences to those with big budgets/pockets.

To see some of Ben's 3D modeling visit https://sketchfab.com/LostCityMuseum/models 

Click here to view the presentation on YouTube.

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