As always, I looked for evidence that the land once belonged to Indians. There was basically nothing: no ruins, no place names, no signs noting points of interest.
Here's what you won't learn on a casual drive through the area:
Lake Mead--History & Culture
Based on archaeological evidence, several Native American cultures have been identified as having existed 8,000 to 10,000 years ago in an environment wetter and cooler than it is today. These cultures hunted game, gathered local edible plants and practiced farming. In a cave near present-day Lake Mead, the remains of large mammals were discovered by archaeologist Mark R.Harrington and paleontologist James Thurston including: ground sloth (Nothrotheriops shastensis), horse (Equus sp.), camel (Camelops sp.) and mountain sheep (Ovis canadensis). Notches found on the bones of animals located in that primitive dwelling show evidence that they were prepared and eaten by humans.
Various prehistoric culture groups made the Colorado River region their home. Archaeological investigations have provided evidence that some were hunter/gatherers and lived in caves; other groups lived in pit houses and Puebloan-type structures, and practiced early farming. Ranging from present day Davis Dam north to the Virgin and Muddy Rivers, these early farming groups grew corn, beans, squash and cotton.
Their technology included pottery of the reddish-brown and gray-brown buff ware with simple black and red decoration. They ground corn and seeds with manos and metate and hunted game with spears, bows & arrows made from local or traded materials.
The brochure briefly mentions the conflict over water rights. It says the dispute was between seven states, ignoring the tribes who also claimed water rights.
The effect is that Hoover Dam seems to be minimizing the regional role of Natives. I wonder why?
Anyway, here are the photos from my day trip:
Lake Mead and O'Callaghan-Tillman Bridge--Dec. 27, 2011 (morning)
Hoover Dam and underground tour--Dec. 27, 2011 (early afternoon)
Visitor center and heading home--Dec. 27, 2011 (late afternoon)
For some previous photo galleries, see Pumpkin Patch in Culver City and 2010 Christmas Pix.
Below: Elevator with a smidgen of Southwest Indian style.
Now go watch National Lampoon's Las Vegas Vacation.
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