site destruction

#53 New “Archaeological Sites” Google Earth Layer

I saw this headline and was pretty excited.  According to the AIA website, they contacted state archaeologists from the United States and Canada to gather the information for the map.  They claim that they had an “overwhelming response”.  Well, I gotta tell you, I’m a bit underwhelmed at the number of sites in Nevada.  Take a look.

From Google Earth.

One site.  That’s right.  One site.  The Bodie Historic District is in California.  The only site we got was Fort Churchill.  Sad.

I’ve recorded or have been on a team that recorded literally thousands of sites across northern Nevada.  Now, I understand that the public doesn’t want to see and probably doesn’t even want to know about a few thousand two-flake lithic scatters but that’s not the point.  There are likely many sites that could be brought to the public’s attention.

I can hear the argument already.  Where is the money to develop these sites into something the public can go and see?  The money should come from the billion dollar projects that are being built around these sites.  The most important sites in this state are being mitigated or avoided so there should be some that could be set up for public viewing.

It would be nice if large companies were required to agree to display or somehow preserve for the public any important or significant sites located during the survey of their property.

Also, how much thought did the Nevada SHPO put into the request for sites from the AIA?  I can think of plenty of other sites that are publicly accessible including a few state parks and recreation areas.  Sounds like they either didn’t have the money to devote to this project or they just didn’t care.  The AIA should have asked the BLM.

Written in Sparks, Nevada


2008  The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology (iPad App), Oxford University Press, 2nd ed.   Developed by Handmark, Inc.

Mitigation Strategy The program of works developed to conserve, protect, record, and/or investigate archaeological structures and deposits that are threatened by wholesale or partial destruction through some kind of construction work, quarrying, or natural erosion.  Such proposals may, for example, include the use of particular foundation designs to minimize the impact of construction on buried deposits, or the use of open space to allow the in situ preservation or significant remains.  Equally, a mitigation strategy may comprise rescue excavation and site-recording operations in advance of destruction.