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Replicas of the Adobe Pueblo Houses.

The Lost City History and Museum

By Nikki Wilson

April 6, 2005

The Lost City was a large settlement along the Moapa Valley along the muddy river banks and was home to the ancient civilization referred to as the Anasazi.  The abandoned city is now located in the area near a town called Overton Nevada, 60 miles northeast of Las Vegas.  

There were three different civilizations that have left artifacts here at this location in the Moapa Valley.   The first is the Desert Culture dated back 10,000 years.  Then there was the Ancient basketmakers I, II, and III, which lasted until around 500 A.D.  The Puebloans then inhabited the Lost City from about 500 – 1150 A.D.  The Paiutes where the last to live in the Lost City around 1000 A.D., which ancestors from this tribe still live in Southern Nevada today.

The lost city was discovered and a museum established in 1935.  The archeologists refer to the civilization as the Anasazi, a Navajo word which is often referred to as “ancient ones”.  The word Anasazi has been traced back to the real meaning "enemy ancestors" and is a more accurate translation of the Navajo word.   The Anasazi also known as the Basketmakers - Pueblo culture existed from 1 A.D. to 1300 A.D.  Archeologists felt that the Ansazi civilization was at its peak around 800 A.D.  The Anasazi civilization was somewhat nomadic having ruins and artifacts found throughout the southwest predominantly in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.

The Anasazi raised corn, maize, beans, squash and cotton.  They mined salt and turquoise and gambled with bone dice.  Some of the plants gathered by the Indians were mesquite and screwbean.  Two types of housing were found at the Lost City, the early pit houses and later multi-room adobe pueblos.  The museum shows original artifacts of this as well as a series of reconstructed houses.   Other relics left behind are their pottery, baskets, and jewelry.  The Anasazi left behind petroglyphs which are pictures carved into rocks, throughout the southwest. 

The basketmakers were the earliest of settlers.  They constructed baskets from willows and yucca plants.  They hunted food such as deer, rabbit, lizards and big horn sheep.  The basketmakers made there own spear heads from stone.  Eventually they evolved from the spear like atlal to a bow and arrow for hunting.

The Puebloans made pottery which was finely painted with details of geometric triangles and line art.   Pottery was used for storage as they became a settled civilization.   They became more of a farming crop grower and less of the hunter and gatherer group.  Pottery was used because it would protect the food from insects and extend the shelf life.  The designs evolved from simple geometric shapes to more complicated pictures towards the 1250 A.D. period.  It is thought that possibly the pictures painted on the pottery reflects the clan or the family it belonged to.  The pottery was fired by low temperature in a wood burning fire in the ground.  Large store rooms were built to store food.  Archeologists believe there was social structure of civilization, such as trade activities, law and order as well as religion. 

The Lost City Museum

The Puebloans left the valley around 1150 A.D.  Archaeologists are not quite sure why, but they speculated it was because of drought, famine or disease.  Some archaeologists argue that not only was the weather part of the abandonment, but spiritual uprising, warfare and an upheaval in their belief system greatly contributed to the change.  The Puebloans likely migrated southeastward to Arizona or New Mexico regions.

Artifacts in the Lost City have indicated that the present day Moapas Paiute may have also descended from the people of the Lost City.

To find the Lost City, travel north up the 15 freeway from Las Vegas, there will be a sign for the exit for the Lost City Museum.  You will drive through Overton and on the outskirts of this town you will find the museum. 

Lost City Museum Hours: 8:30 to 4:30 daily (closed Thanksgiving Day, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1) Admission: $3.00 for adults 18-64; $2.00 for seniors 65+; children under 18 and members, free.  The museum is currently owned and maintained by the state of Nevada.

 

 

 


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Sunday, July 11, 2010 01:18 AM