Message #4:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Re-enactment of Historic Archaeology Digs-Gypsum Cave Adventure 
         (Gypsum Cave Part 1)
Date: Thu, 02 Jan 97 08:23:00 MST
Encoding: 46 TEXT

[Professional archaeologic expedition was an adventure.  Now recreating 
past expeditions is the adventure -- SASIG Ed.]

LAS VEGAS SUN  -- When Mark Harrington discovered bones from ancient animals 
and Indian dart points in Gypsum Cave in 1930, the goods went to a 
California museum.  Local archaeologists and others will re-create 
Harrington's adventure at the cave, 15 miles east of Las Vegas, Nov. 9 and 
10. Someday they hope to bring Harrington's finds back to the unique 
geological and historical area that covers 40,400 acres and includes Sunrise 
Mountain.  For former state Sen. Tom Hickey, president of Citizens for 
Active Management of Sunrise Mountain (CAM), the eastern edge of the Las 
Vegas Valley deserves as much attention as the Spring Mountains and Red Rock 
Canyon west of town.  "This event has become a valley-wide effort," Hickey 
said. "It is important because our activities will conserve and protect this 
land while giving our growing population a great recreational park."  Plans 
for future designated areas include horseback riding and mountain biking 
trails, plus educational and recreational sites.  The first major find that 
CAM introduced to residents was an outcropping of red granite formed by heat 
and pressure next to sandstone from a vanished shallow sea. Known as the 
Great Unconformity, the gap between rock layers represents 1.2 billion 
years, or a quarter of the Earth's history, said Helen Mortenson, vice 
president of CAM.  Gypsum Cave is rich in history where the two-day camping 
adventure will take place. The event will include artifacts, lectures by 
Community College of Southern Nevada professors and other experts, guided 
trail hikes, Native American story-telling with live music, overnight 
camping and a pancake breakfast.  "At the time, Harrington's findings were a 
significant contribution to the annals of archaeology," Mortenson explained. 
A recognized archaeologist in her own right, Mortenson, LaRae Bringhurst and 
Susan Murphy spotted a sloth's skull on a rock shelf on federal land near 
Devil's Peak southwest of Las Vegas in 1991. The sloth is now on display at 
Nevada State Museum, but Mortenson has never stopped exploring Nevada's 
unique past.  "Some early studies of the contents of Gypsum Cave may have 
proven to be inaccurate due to possible contamination of carbon-dating 
material and should be re-analyzed," Mortenson said. "We hope to reassess 
studies made and contribute our piece of the archaeological puzzle," she 
said.  The Harrington Adventure costs $15 per camper or $25 for families. 
Barbecue cookers, water and restroom facilities will also be provided. 
Registration begins today through Oct. 30. To register, call the college's 
Continuing Education Division at 651-5790.
Las Vegas SUN archives