Rock Art Studies & Rock Art Styles in Clark County, Nevada

March 2022

Dr. Kevin Rafferty, Professor Emeritus, College of Southern Nevada

Rock art is a resource that has experienced a burst of interest by researchers in the last 30 years. The rock art record of southern Nevada is a rich and varied one, with the experiences and symbolism of multiple cultures and time periods (Archaic, Virgin Anasazi, Patayan, Paiute, etc.) being expressed in numerous locations throughout our local region. This talk will attempt to do four things: 1) present a brief history of rock art research from the 19th century to the present day; 2) discuss approaches to rock art recording and dating; 3) demonstrate and present the varieties of rock art styles in southern Nevada; and 4) discuss rock art in the context of prehistoric subsistence. 

A recording of this presentation is posted on NVFCP's YouTube Channel. Click here to see the video.

On the Late Prehistory of the Mojave Desert

February 2022

Mark Q. Sutton, University of San Diego

It is commonly assumed that people lived in the Mojave Desert full-time over most of the Holocene, apart from the time between 5,000 and 4,000 BP when it is believed that the desert was largely abandoned. Research into Late Holocene adaptations in the Mojave Desert invariably model settlement and subsistence systems to include the presence of permanent or semi-permanent villages or base camps, even though such sites have never been definitively identified.

An examination of the Mojave Desert data unencumbered by the premise of permanent villages suggests that none were present; that during the Late Holocene, the bulk of the Mojave Desert was effectively a large common pool resource zone wherein a large number of resource patches were utilized by a number of upland- or river-oriented groups living along the edges of the desert.

Video link.

Archaeology Day at Lost City Museum

January 2022

NVFCP participated in Archaeology Day at the Lost City Museum in Overton. 102 guest to the museum were treated to a variety of hands on activities from a mock excavation to ceramic refitting. There were 40 individuals who volunteered to assist with the booth activities including federal agency archaeologists, advocational archaeology and preservation groups, and university students. NVFCP focused on historic artifacts with a speed dating activity that taught participants about historic vs modern cans. Each year new items make it on the historic artifact list. 

Nevada State Parks: A World to Explore & Preserve

January 2022

Arthur Krupicz, Historic Preservation Specialist- Nevada State Parks

The Nevada State Parks system includes 27 units that represent the best of Nevada’s diverse nature and history. Through these locations, State Parks provides many different opportunities to Nevada’s communities and our state’s many visitors. Among the many attractions within parks, historic resources play a major role. From history-oriented parks like Ft. Churchill to small, hidden places in the backcountry, Nevada’s history is everywhere. This is part of the attraction of parks, but also a preservation challenge. As more people visit parks, well-known sites can experience damage; while previously unknown sites become exposed to risk. This discussion will introduce some of the diverse historic resources within the State Park system and explore ideas for preserving them, in collaboration with our citizens and communities.

Video link

The Wishbone Site: First Evidence for Human Use of Tobacco

December 2021

The Wishbone Site: A Pleistocene Hearth from the Eastern Great Basin with the First Evidence for Human Use of Tobacco

Daron Duke, Ph.D., RPA with Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc. 

In 2015, a cultural resource management survey for the U.S. Air Force identified a relict fire feature eroding from the floor of Utah's Great Salt Lake Desert. Radiocarbon dating places its use at ~12,300 years old, making this the earliest open‐air hearth found in the Great Basin. Within and immediately surrounding the hearth, we found waterfowl bone refuse, Haskett-style projectile points, and other tools, providing a critical new perspective on people's lives in this region during the Pleistocene. Of particular interest was the finding of charred tobacco seeds among the hearth contents, evidencing human use of this plant well before previously established and relatively soon after people arrived in the Americas.

To watch a video of this webinar click this link.


Hump & Bump Logandale Trails

October 2021

NVFCP was invited to have an outreach booth at the 2021 Annual Hump and Bump event at Logandale Trails. For two days, full size trucks, Jeeps, and other vehicles enjoyed different trail runs based on ability and interest. Our booth was visited by many attendees that go out and visit archaeological and historic sites across Nevada. They all walked away from our booth with information on how to report any damages they find when they are out exploring. 

BioBlitz-Desert National Wildlife Refuge

October 2021

NVFCP had an outreach booth at Desert National Wildlife Refuge's first BioBlitz. Over 100 visitors walked the trails and visited booths hosted by different "ologists." We had a great time sharing the preservation message while encouraging folks to enjoy our public lands. 

Pints for Preservation 2021

September 2021

In addition to the $5 pints sold from the donated keg of Turmer Pils, NVFCP was able to generate over $150 in cash donations from attendees. Thanks to everyone who came out to support us at this fundraising event!


Archaeology at Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument


September 2021

Kristina "Tina" Boruschewitz - Research Associate from Great Basin Institute, Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument Archaeologist.

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument was established as the 405th unit of the National Park Service in December 2014. Though still a new park, it has been the setting for a century worth of ongoing research starting in the early 1930s. Fossil-bearing sediment layers date to the last Ice Age, between 200,000-10,500 years ago. This gives researchers a unique opportunity to study these extinct animals in their chronological context and bring these ancient wetlands to life. While the fossils and geology of Tule Springs are more widely known, the fact that it was researched as an early man site is not. This presentation will talk about the Monument's history, prehistoric and historic cultural resources, past archaeological work, and present archaeology projects. Let us take a trip to explore Las Vegas' Urban Monument.

Watch the video here.

What’s New in Southern Nevada Archaeology? Recent Insights into the Virgin Branch Culture of the Moapa Valley

UNLV Students House 1 (2006)
August 2021

Dr. Karen Harry, Department of Anthropology-UNLV

Today, when people think of southern Nevada they seldom think of Pueblo ruins.  While the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde and the multi-storied towns of Chaco Canyon are well known, the same cannot be said for the archaeology of southern Nevada.  This was not always the case, however.  In the early 20th century, large-scale excavations centered on southern Nevada’s Moapa Valley documented the existence of a 700-year long occupation by Pueblo people.  Those projects received widespread national and international attention at the time, and captured the imaginations of journalists and the public alike.  Unfortunately, the projects were never properly written up and the important role of southern Nevada’s archaeology were never properly appreciated.  In the last decade, however, with support from the National Park Service, the previous field notes and collections have been recovered and new excavations have been carried out.  These studies have yielded important insights into the archaeology of the region.  This presentation will summarize the archaeology of the area and discuss new insights obtained from the ongoing study of these early collections and more recent excavations.

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

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