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Hidden Cave Photos

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Rose Spring

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An Introduction

M. Steven Shackley Research Archaeologist

A few years ago Stephanie Damadio, the National Curator for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Sacramento, contacted the museum about doing a project, the content and direction of which was open. The project would however, focus on some aspect of public outreach. Kathleen Butler, the former Assistant Director at the museum, asked me for input on her plan to develop a web site and pamphlet design for western Great Basin archaeology capitalizing on the large BLM collections from western and central Nevada and eastern California. A number of these sites have served to anchor North American archaeology's concept of prehistory in this region, and consequently were important sites in the history of North American archaeology, particularly the Rose Spring Site (CA-INY-372) in Inyo County, California, and Lovelock (NV-CH-18) and Hidden (NV-CH-16) Caves in Churchill County, Nevada (see regional map). All three of these sites were excavated by members of either the Department of Anthropology or the Anthropology Museum here at Berkeley, and Rose Spring and Hidden Cave had been re-investigated in recent years. Kathleen and I designed a project and a relatively small budget that focused on:

1) The production of an image laden interactive web site that featured images from the collections, most of which had never been displayed before or were buried in unpublished reports, and some text updating the collections care at the museum.

2) Designing a pamphlet from the web design that featured the historic value of the sites and their curation at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology.

3 Time and budget allowing, determine the BLM's holdings in Inyo and Churchill Counties pursuant to Federal Collections Guidelines and museum practice.

4) And finally, if the budget allowed, re-curate the Lovelock Cave collections up to modern standards equal to the Rose Spring and Hidden Cave collections that have recently been re-curated with other funds.

All of the goals have been reached, and we think that the product will convey the value of the sites, the collections here at the museum, provide a public platform for a greater understanding of western Great Basin prehistory, the role of museums in enhancing that understanding, and the continued cooperation between the Bureau of Land Management and the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. We are quite satisfied with the results of the project, for the museum, for the Bureau, and we think for the public; all for a relatively small budget. In addition to the primary goals to produce a web site and outreach pamphlet, we were able to re-curate and re-house the Lovelock Cave collection that was in dire need of curation. Most of the objects, including some of the organic materials, were still housed in cardboard and paper. These are now in acid free containers and much more easily accessed. Additionally, we were able to analyze through x-ray fluorescence spectrometry in the Archaeological XRF Laboratory a small sample of obsidian projectile points from Lovelock Cave to compare with the larger analysis of Hidden Cave artifacts by Richard Hughes from the American Museum of Natural History project.

We hope you like the results, and we will, of course, modify the web site as time goes by and researchers work on the collections or we come across a new artifact or news item on the collection. Finally, this project is a hopeful sign of continued collaboration between Federal agencies and university museums for the good of the collections and the dissemination of information to the greater public, which both institutions are indebted.

Kathleen Butler, Project Manager (until September 2001)
M. Steven Shackley, Project Director and text author
Nicole Mullen, Web Designer
Resha Shenandoah, Undergraduate Research Assistant,
and XRF lab analyst
Rosie Mills, Collections Preparator for collections re-housing

This is Stephanie Damadio's original vision, although the specific content and direction are ours. The Bureau of Land Management and Stephanie Damadio deserve thanks for vision and management. Shackley conferred with Robert Yohe of California State University, Bakersfield, who re-investigated Rose Spring as a dissertation project. Bob was supremely helpful, and his interpretations through his work are reflected here. Kathleen Hull, Senior Museum Scientist in the NAGPRA group here in the museum helped gather data on the history of the Nevada sites through the NAGPRA inventories. Leslie Freund, the Museum Collections Manager graciously provided matching funds for Ms. Mills to re-curate the Nevada collections. Russell Kaldenberg at BLM, Sacramento was very helpful by phone during the lapse in electronic communications in 2001. Finally, we must thank the anthropologists from the previous century who worked in these sites and brought the past to our attention: L.L. Loud, Robert F. Heizer, Fritz and Harry Riddell, E.P. Lanning, G.L. Grosscup, S.M. and Georgia Wheeler, Norman Roust, Dave Thomas, Bob Yohe, and all the others too numerous to mention.

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Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology