A Story of Encounters: Anthropologists, Archeologists, and Other Researchers

Anthropological study is generally divided into four sub-disciplines: cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, linguistics, and archaeology (sometimes considered a separate field). The discipline itself was a product of the late nineteenth century, inspired by the introduction of new ideas including Franz Boas’ principle of cultural relativism, which argued against inherent hierarchies of culture.

Researchers in these fields came to study Nevada’s native cultures from a variety of locations and backgrounds. Llewellyn Lemont (L.L.) Loud had no professional training when sent by University of California anthropology department founder Alfred Kroeber to excavate Lovelock Cave in 1912. Mark Raymond Harrington, who conducted excavations at Lost City in the mid-1920s and continued archeological work throughout Nevada for decades, was a longtime curator of archeology at the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles.

Many of these researchers had affiliations with the University of California at Berkeley and, later, the Department of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno. The notes, photographs, and other materials of many of these researchers, including Margaret Wheat, Warren L. d’Azevedo, Edgar Siskin, and Sven S. Liljeblad, are housed in the Special Collections Department of the University of Nevada, Reno Library.

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Warren d'Azevedo: By Dead Reckoning
Interviewed in 1997-1998 and 2005, Warren d’Azevedo, Professor emeritus and founder of the Anthropology Department at the University of Nevada, Reno, shares his life history. His steadfast and compassionate commitment to the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California included efforts to assist the tribe in its land claims, in protecting its sacred sites, and in documenting its history and culture.

Articles reprinted with permission from the Nevada Historical Society. Select a link to open a pdf copy of the article.

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