People of the Humboldt
Nevada lies within the Great Basin where rivers drain into lakebeds and sinks, never reaching an ocean. The broad valley around this location contains two of these terminal lake basins or “sinks” one for the Humboldt River arising in northeastern Nevada and the other for the Carson River flowing from the Sierra Nevada to the southwest. Near the end of the Ice Age, much of this region was beneath the waters of Lake Lahontan. As Lahontan’s water receded, two lake basins formed, separated by a massive gravel bar to the north. Archaeologists have concluded that over the last 12,000 years, Native Americans occupied the region, prospering when the valley supported extensive wetlands.
From about 9800 years ago, Native Americans utilized Leonard Rock shelter, a National Historic Landmark, and other caves carved from the bedrock by Lake Lahontan’s waves. Remnants of stored tools and food recovered from the caves include nets, fishhooks, dried fish, water bird remains, duck decoys, and basketry made from willows or tule. Lovelock Cave, above Humboldt Lake to the northeast, is a legendary battle site where tradition maintains two bands of Numa (Northern Paiutes), the Koop Ticutta (Ground Squirrel Eaters) and the Sai Ticutta (Tule Eaters) warred against one another. When European American explorers entered the area in the 1830s, the area was dominated by vast wetlands that still supported Numa (Northern Paiute) villages.
STATE HISTORIC MARKER No. 147
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
CHURCHILL COUNTY MUSEUM