Archaeologists Find Artifacts on Nev. Site of Black Saloon
VIRGINIA CITY, Nev.
Archaeologists and students excavating the site of an African American saloon have unearthed artifacts and structural debris believed lost when the building burned in an 1876 fire.
Sixteen students from the University of Nevada, Reno, and dozens of volunteers uncovered bottles, glasses and materials such as brick and flooring from the Boston Saloon.
“A lot of what’s coming out that we
didn’t anticipate is the architectural type stuff,” says Kelly Dixon, project manager. “We’re finding walls that line up with standing structures and burned wood floors. We now know the artifacts on top are associated with the saloon.”
William Brown, a Massachusetts native, opened the Boston Saloon in 1864. The watering hole served the African American community on the Comstock until 1875. Experts hope the findings will reveal something about the lives of Black residents, who numbered fewer than 100 in this historic mining town during the mid-1860s.
Officials with the National Endowment for the Humanities last month awarded a $5,000 grant to the project to help bring in experts who could help analyze what will likely be thousands of artifacts pulled from the ground.
Those expected to visit the site this month include Theresa Singleton, an expert in African American archaeology from Syracuse University; Paul Mullins, a historical archaeologist from Baltimore; and Adrian and Mary Praetzellis, a
husband-and-wife archaeologist team from Sonoma, Calif.
Though the focus of the excavation is to uncover the secrets of the Boston Saloon, Dixon says her students worked the first several days unearthing artifacts from a Chinese restaurant that was built on top of the ruins in the 1920s.
University of Nevada archaeologists hope to establish a lecture series as well as traveling exhibits to showcase the
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