The Pueblo Grande de Nevada Manuscript Collection (1924-1983) contains journal articles, photocopies of artifact inventories, reports, correspondence, and field notes related to the Pueblo Grande de Nevada archaeological site located in the Overton Valley of Southern Nevada. The bulk of the materials are related to Mark R. Harrington's archaeological reports, journal articles, and data from sites throughout the Overton and Moapa valleys. The collection also includes materials related to the Boulder Dam Park Museum (Lost City Museum of Archaeology) located in Overton, Nevada, which housed many of the artifacts and photographs from Harrington's archaeological sites.
Collection is open for research, with the exception of materials that are restricted to protect cultural resource areas. Restrictions are noted at the file level of this inventory.
Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.
The Pueblo Grande de Nevada Manuscript Collection (1924-1983) contains journal articles, artifact inventories, reports, correspondence, and field notes related to the Pueblo Grande de Nevada archaeological site located in the Overton Valley of Southern Nevada. The collection concerns excavations of human remains and cultural objects removed from Native American graves throughout Southern Nevada. The collection specifically relates to archaeologist Mark R. Harrington, and archaeological data from sites located in Overton, Moapa, Valley of Fire, Red Rock, Pyramid Lake, Kane Springs, Virgin River, the “Lost City,” and Lake Mead, Nevada. His research focused on Puebloan sites throughout Southern Nevada, and he was assisted in the location and research of sites by Zuni, Paiute, and Shoshone staff and community members. The collection also includes materials related to the Boulder Dam Park Museum (now named the Lost City Museum of Archaeology) located in Overton, Nevada, which housed many of the artifacts and photographs from Harrington's archaeological sites.
The Pueblo Grande de Nevada, also known as Nevada’s “Lost City,” was a Native American urban site occupied by Basketmaker, Hisatsinom, Puebloan (previously contextualized as Anasazi), and Paiute communities from 300 AD to 1150 AD. The city consisted of housing structures of 20 or more rooms, with one building containing more than 100 rooms. Adjacent to the city were salt mines that indigenous communities mined for trade throughout the region. The Pueblo Grande de Nevada site was flooded during the creation of Hoover Dam's Lake Mead reservoir. The collection's materials relate to archaeological data associated with collecting and cataloging cultural objects before the reservoir's completion.
In 1924, John and Fay Perkins, two brothers from Overton, Nevada discovered artifacts in the Moapa Valley. The Perkins brothers notified Colonel James G. Scrugham, the Governor of Nevada from 1923-1927, of their findings. As more discoveries were made during 1924, and the increasing conversations over Hoover Dam and its accompanying reservoir put the sites at risk, Governor Scrugham contacted Mark Raymond Harrington, an archaeologist working with the Heye Foundation’s Museum of the American Indian (MAI) in New York City to record the sites before they were potentially ruined. Harrington traveled to the Moapa Valley and noted the historical importance of the archaeological findings. The MAI funded the initial years of Harrington's research, but in 1934 the National Park Service took over funding for the archaeological digs. Harrington used Civilian Conservation Corps labor (Company 974 and 573), and was also joined by Zuni workers, to preserve and catalog as many cultural items as possible before the valley was flooded for the creation of Lake Mead reservoir, which submerged the “Lost City” along with the town of St. Thomas, Nevada.
Harrington and his staff worked throughout the 1920s excavating, photographing, and cataloging the physical remains of burials, Native American cultural objects, and housing structures. Photographs and saved objects from numerous sites under Harrington’s management were housed in the Lost City Museum of Archaeology (formerly the Boulder Dam Park Museum) located in Overton, Nevada.
“The Lost City.” The National Park Service website, accessed on August 15, 2018. https://www.nps.gov/lake/learn/the-lost-city.htm
Harry, Karen G. and James T. Watson. “The Archaeology of Pueblo Grande de Nevada: Past and Current Research within Nevada’s ‘Lost City.’”
Materials remain in original order.
Pueblo Grande de Nevada Manuscript Collection, 1924-1983. MS-00208. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Materials were donated in 1983 by Pat Olson; accession number T-143, 1981-132. Olson compiled the manuscript and photograph collections on Pueblo Grande de Nevada. Olson worked for Nevada's Department of Museums and was a Field Archaeologist for the Lost City Museum in Overton, Nevada during the 1980s.
Olson, Kathryne and Pat Olson.
In 2018, as part of an archival backlog elimination project, Lee Hanover rehoused and arranged the materials, wrote the finding aid, and entered the data into ArchivesSpace.