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Origins of Nevada


Family of Nevada
Family of Nevada

The first peoples in Nevada probably arrived about 12,000 years ago. Dart points made of stone, called Clovis points, have been found in the state that are at least 10,000 years old. Early inhabitants lived in rock shelters or caves, and gathered most of their food. People who lived in Lovelock Cave near Lake Lahontan about 3,000 years ago hunted animals with darts rather than bows and arrows. Archaeologists have even found decoy ducks that were used to attract birds.

About 300 bc people of the Anasazi culture appeared, living in pit houses around the Muddy and Virgin rivers.

The Anasazi built their houses with adobe and rocks, mastered pottery and basketry, and may have mined salt. Between about ad 700 and 1100 the Anasazi began raising corn, beans, and squash, and also developed irrigation. Before the migrating Paiutes pushed them out of Nevada, the Anasazi had domesticated dogs and begun growing cotton.

When the first European entered what is now Nevada, it was peopled chiefly by three native groups: the Paiute, the Shoshone, and the Washoe. Of these, the Northern Paiute were perhaps the best known. Their home territory included most of western Nevada, particularly the area from Pyramid Lake to Walker Lake. The Shoshone ranged mainly along the Humboldt River east of present-day Winnemucca. The Washoe lived in the Carson and Washoe valleys, the Truckee Meadows, and around Lake Tahoe. The Southern Paiute lived in the southeast.

The Great Basin environment forced all native peoples in Nevada to live a nomadic existence as hunter-gatherers. The continuous search for food was the dominant aspect of life in this harsh land, and the native inhabitants of Nevada demonstrated remarkable survival skills. While their material culture was limited, these Native Americans, particularly the Washoe, are known for their excellent basketry. One Washoe woman, called Datsolalee, achieved wide recognition for the intricate designs on the baskets she wove in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. "Nevada" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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