Pueblo Grande de Nevada: Lost City

Beginning about 300 BC, a native culture developed and flourished for over 1000 years in the Moapa Valley of Southern Nevada. This culture's development paralleled the well-known Puebloan cultures of the Southwest in the Four Corners area of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. It was related to neighboring Southwest cultures by its technology and agricultural lifestyle. It may or may not have shared language and kinship. The modern Hopi culture in Arizona claims all of these people as their ancestors. In the Hopi language these "ancient ones" are known as Hisatsinom. Archaeologists identified this fascinating culture as Anasazi.

Many generations of the Anasazi lived in this area from their archaic and basketmaker beginnings through the Pueblo periods to the eventual abandonment. Throughout their history in the area they had the ability to adapt and retain the important aspects of their culture. Even periodic relocation of households and communities did not disrupt the long-term flow of their history here until sometime in the mid-twelfth century.

The remains of the sites left behind by the Anasazi form the archaeological complex known as Pueblo Grande de Nevada, Nevada's Lost City. The sites were first brought to public attention by two local brothers, John and Fay Perkins, when they heard that Governor James Scrugham was looking for such sites to develop for tourism in Nevada.

Initial excavations of the sites were carried out in the mid 1920s by archaeologist Mark Raymond Harrington at Scrugham's request. Harrington was later assisted by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps as they rushed to complete excavations in areas that were to be covered by Lake Mead when Hoover Dam was built in 1938.

The Boulder Dam Park Museum was built to house the artifacts that were recovered from these sites. The museum later became an agency of the State of Nevada, and the name was changed to the Lost City Museum located in Overton, Nevada.

Geographic Area: 

Article Locations

Related Articles

Further Reading