By Dave Maxwell
Many thousands of years ago, according to geologists, the vast basin we know today as the Great Basin, covered eastern Nevada in water and marshlands.
Anthropologists and archeologists from the University of Utah think that humans also lived in the area, in particular the Dry Lake Valley area of Lincoln County, and they think the stone tools those people used are still out there.
The reason for thinking that is because some articles have been found there, at six sites in Dry Lake Valley near Alamo when doing field work there from 2010 to 2013.
An article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal noted that scientists also found ancient tools at seven other sites in the Delamar Valley, and six sites a bit further south in the Kane Springs Valley.
The article quotes archaeologist Jesse Adams saying it appears the projectile points and crescent-shaped scrapers were fashioned out of chert and obsidian by people who lived in the area as many as 12,000 years ago, or near the end of the last ice age.
“Finds like these are very rare,” he said. “There are definitely archeologists who go their whole careers without finding any, and we have found several.”
The Review-Journal article said scientists “used computer-based predictive modeling methods to determine where to go looking for artifacts based on the locations of previous finds elsewhere in the Great Basin from the same time period.”
Nick Pay, a BLM archeologist, said what Adams and company found was something rare, “especially in the Great Basin.” Little evidence of human activity has ever been found there from the end of the Pleistocene era, “We don’t find (sites like this) very often. In this case, we found them and we were looking for them.”
Archeologists would not give the exact location of the finds, the article reported.
Southern Nevada Water Authority has plans to someday be able to run a large water pipeline through that area of eastern Nevada, but Pay said he is not bothered by the possibility as the artifacts are in an area not likely to be disturbed by the pipeline project.
Little is known about the culture and customs of the Paleo-Indians who lived in those valleys and left the stone tools. Pay said they were hunter-gatherers and “more than likely semi-nomadic,” trailing water and game across the landscape and through the seasons.