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 

Click here to view the presentation on YouTube.

Consuming Identities: Filipino-American Food Practices

October 2020

Kathrina Aben, archaeologists for the Bureau of Land Management-Las Vegas Field Office, shared with us some of her interests and previous research. Her presentation information is below.

Consuming Identities: Material Analysis of Mid-20th Century Filipino-American Food Practices in Agricultural Landscapes in San Joaquin County, California

In the early 20th century, the San Joaquin Delta in California served as a significant center of agricultural production in the U.S. Migrant laborers served as the backbone of the agriculture industry by following the seasonal rotation of crops to cultivate, harvest, and process food products to feed the country, often living in semi-permanent structures in farm work camps. Filipino-Americans and immigrants comprised a large percent of farmworkers in the region, resulting in Filipino communities with strong social networks and vibrant cultural traditions. This presentation explores the mid-20th century Filipino-American experience in agricultural work camps through the materiality of food practices in San Joaquin County, California. Food is a useful lens to explore the performance of cultural identities despite social, political, and economic challenges affecting food accessibility. Oral histories, archival records, and objects are used to discuss daily meals and celebratory feasts, exploring the meaningful interconnections between space, food, and practice. This research addresses the absence of Filipino-American archaeological studies in the discipline by exploring the materiality of food practices and their potential impact on the archaeological record.

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

Rock Writing Sites on the Nevada Test and Training Range


August 2020

NVFCP in partnership with the Nevada Site Stewardship Program (NSSP) held the first virtual presentation of 2020.

Kish LaPierre, Cultural Resources Manager, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, presented on the following:

The United States Army Corps of Engineers and Nellis Air Force Base (Nellis AFB), Nevada, contracted with Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., (Far Western) to conduct a study of rock writing (petroglyph and pictograph) sites on the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR). This study was conducted in accordance with Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The project entails updated recordation of existing sites, with emphasis on extensive photo-documentation, and selected archaeological survey of surrounding areas. These efforts were completed in cooperation with tribal representatives from the Consolidated Group of Tribes and Organizations (CGTO), who participated as field monitors to provide Native American perspective on their observations. The CGTO represents 17 tribes and organizations that provide government-to-government consultation with Nellis AFB.


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

Events Going Online

NVFCP is gearing up to host some online talks in the next few months. In person events are suspended until participant safety is no longer questionable. 

If you have a request for an online talk, discussion, lecture, or other event, please contact us at [email protected]


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