Historical Archaeology in the Cortez Mining District
Under the Nevada Giant
Mining and Society Series
The Cortez Hills Expansion Project archaeological excavations uncovered a wealth of information about the Cortez Mining District, from its beginning in 1863 to the government-mandated end to the mining of precious metals in the district during World War II. Obermayr and McQueen use archaeological data as a foundation to tell the story of life in one of Nevada’s most intriguing, long-lived mining districts. Archaeologists excavate and analyze many thousands of artifacts, uncovering the homes and workplaces—and even trash dumps—of prospectors and miners, mill workers, charcoal burners, brickmakers, blacksmiths, teamsters, and families. They present an archaeological view of everyday life: how Cortez was populated by a variety of ethnic groups, how they lived, what products they bought or consumed, what their social status was, and how, even in this remote location, they created their own version of lives exemplifying the era’s Victorian ideals. Readers interested in the archaeology of the West, mining history, and the history of Nevada will find this book fascinating.
"Their [Obermayr and McQueen's] book is well written and I recommend it to anybody that has an interest in Great Basin archaeology, geography, the development and history of mining in central Nevada and the Cortez area in particular, or just has a curiosity about what life was like in a remote Nevada mining camp from the mid-nineteenth century to the early decades of the twentieth."
—Nevada in the West
“Provides a valuable record of fragile finite historic resources (archaeological sites and features) and related historic landscapes for one of Nevada’s ‘hidden’ treasures.”
—Eugene M. Hattori, Nevada State Museum Curator of Anthropology, Carson City