Mining played a prominent role in the shaping and settling of the American West in the nineteenth century. Following the discovery of the famous Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1859, mining became increasingly industrialized, changing mining techlogy, society, and culture throughout the world. In the wake of these changes Nevada became an important mining region, with new people and techlogies further altering the ways mining was pursued and miners interacted. Historical archaeology offers a research strategy for understanding mining and miners that integrates three independent sources of information about the past: physical remains, documents, and oral testimony. Mining Archaeology in the American West explores mining culture and practices through the microcosm of Nevada's mining frontier. The history of mining techlogy, the social and cultural history of miners and mining societies, and the landscapes and environments of mining are topics examined in this multifocus research. In this updated and expanded edition of the seminal work on mining in Nevada, Donald Hardesty brings scholarship up to the present with important new research and insights into how people, techlogy, culture, architecture, and landscape changed during this period of mining history.
Donald L. Hardesty is a professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the author of numerous publications, including Assessing Site Significance: A Guide for Archaeologists and Historians (with Barbara J. Little) and The Archaeology of the Donner Party.