The Pottery Hill Site

A Historic Period Shoshone Settlement in Grass Valley, Nevada

Helen Fairman Wells
Evelyn Seelinger

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9781647691349 (paperback)
9781647691356 (ebook)

This archaeological study of the interactions between Western Shoshone families and Euro-American ranchers in the late nineteenth century helps fill the gap between what is known regarding Late Prehistoric foragers of the American West and ethnohistoric understanding of Native American peoples of the Great Basin.

Pottery Hill, an archaeological site located in Grass Valley, Nevada, northeast of the historic mining town of Austin, represents a small settlement of Native Americans who lived there in the late 1800s. The Grass Valley Shoshone, whose environment and traditional lifeways were disrupted by the arrival of miners and settlers in the 1860s, found work on the ranches and farms in the valley.

Archaeological fieldwork conducted in the 1970s investigated house remains, hearths, and artifacts. A recent analysis of these data, enhanced by the use of archival documents and oral history, provides new insights into the dynamics of late nineteenth-century life in central Nevada. The Pottery Hill Site addresses a critical period in the history of the Grass Valley Shoshone, who adopted and modified Euro-American artifacts and materials while maintaining important aspects of their traditional culture. It gives readers a deeper understanding of the effects of Euro-American settlement on the Shoshone, the history of the western United States, and the reciprocal impacts of cultural contact.