By Dennis Cassinelli
I am re-writing this article to make an announcement about this book with a special offer to reduce my inventory of this title. Having several cases of this book in stock, I will now sell them for $10.00 each and I will pay for the shipping. The list price of these was originally $22.00. I want every artifact collector to own one. My second attempt at serious writing was when I self published “Preserving Traces of the Great Basin Indians” in 2006. An earlier edition had completely sold out, so I improved all the photographs of the various types of Indian artifacts I had described and re-printed the book.
Of the four books I have written, this has always been the best seller. It is the story about a collection of Indian artifacts that family members and I have collected over the years, mostly from our own family farm in Sparks and other farms, ranches and construction sites in Nevada. Many came from the Black Rock Desert and other northern Nevada sites.
Collecting Indian artifacts on public and Indian lands has been prohibited by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. Indian artifacts can still be taken from private property with the permission of the owner. Caves, human remains and grave goods are protected wherever they are found in respect to the Native American Indians. Known archaeological sites, Federal, State and Indian lands are off limits to all artifact hunting. I have donated the collection described in this book to the Carson Valley Historical Museum in Gardnerville, where it is on display. It contains over 1,000 items that I have identified and dated with a method used by archaeologists known as the Thomas Key Method. Some of the stone points can be dated in excess of 10,000 years. There are also many drawings of the various types of points and photographs of knives, scrapers and household items used by the Washoe, Paiute and Shoshone Indians throughout Nevada. This book is recognized by many collectors as a reliable field book for identifying and dating many Indian artifacts found in the Great Basin.
There is a discussion in the book about the famous Spirit Cave Man’s mummified remains that were discovered in a cave in the Grimes Point archaeological site east of Fallon. I have written a prehistoric novel titled “Legends of Spirit Cave” about the man and his family showing how people lived in Nevada 10,000 years ago. I consider this to be one of the most amazing archaeological discoveries ever made in the United States. Allowing study of this individual could change all theories about how and when the North and South American continents became populated.
I learned recently that DNA testing has finally been done that showed the Spirit Cave Man was related to existing Indian Tribes in Nevada. The remains of the Spirit Cave Man have now been repatriated back to the Native Indian tribes for reburial. Spirit Cave has been sealed up to prevent anyone from entering. There is also a section in the book devoted to the Lovelock Cave, where much of the knowledge we have about the Great Basin Indians was discovered.
“Preserving Traces of the Great Basin Indians” contains copies of the Nevada State laws relating to artifact collecting and also the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. In this act, under “Prohibited acts and criminal penalties,” 93 STAT. 725, paragraph (3), it states, “ No penalty shall be assessed under this section for the removal of arrowheads on the surface of the ground. Every member of my immediate family and I have found and identified arrowheads while hiking, hunting or camping in Nevada. With this book you can date the projectile points and identify beads, scrapers, pendants and other artifacts you discover. There is an interesting fold-out chronology chart in the back of the book that shows on an illustrated time scale what types of projectile points have been used in the Great Basin for the past 12,000 years. There is also a chapter in the book that is a humorous fictional account that tells how the Indians were able to make arrows from the sticks and stones they found in their natural environment.
I once had a call from the Folsom College in Folsom California for 24 copies of the book. When I asked why they wanted so many, they said the professor had seen the book and wanted it to be the text book for his class on “Great Basin Anthropology.” I had never considered it would be used as a college text, but they recognized its quality.
This article is by Dayton Author and Historian, Dennis Cassinelli, who can be contacted on his blog at denniscassinelli.com. All Dennis’ books sold of this title will now be at $10.00 each including shipping.