It’s a little more than 62 miles from Las Vegas to Overton, so I wanted to make sure that the trip was worth it. There were 2 gentlemen working in the new visitors’ booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center. The 1st had never heard of the Lost City Museum, which is in Overton, and the 2nd man was silent, probably because he didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the older gentleman he was working with. As soon as the man who had never been to Lost City was distracted by another traveler, however, the younger man motioned me closer and whispered ,”The Lost City is really worth visiting.”
He was right. The Lost City Museum proved to be both worthwhile and unusual. The name refers to a Puebloan culture, people who lived in the area about a thousand years ago but are pretty much unknown. Archaeologists have determined that they were the first permanent residents of what is now Nevada. But who they were is largely unknown. Too much time has passed. Artifacts not recognized by the untrained were damaged. Mormon pioneers built atop the pueblo site. A road was cut through it. By 1940 many sites were under Lake Meade. Scientists have figured that this lost city’s residents were basketmakers and builders of a pueblo that extended for 30 miles. They were already living there 15 centuries ago, had a dynamic culture by A.D. 1000, experienced drought and abandoned the pueblo around the middle of the 12th century.
The Lost City Museum, a Nevada State facility, is comprehensive and not the kind of place I can explore in a short visit. There was too much to absorb. A WPA project, the Lost City Museum has been around since 1934 and is unusual in that an actual archaeological dig was incorporated into the exhibits. There are examples on display of stuff found in the area from many eras and many tribes. There were beautiful baskets, reconstructed pottery examples, exhibits about the Mormons, info about mining, etc. The displays ranged from updated to traditional, but it was obvious that this place is well curated and cared for.
One of my favorite areas was about Katsinas, which were represented by a number of well-dressed Hopi dolls like the fella with red ears. Katsinas were spirit beings who guided and taught people. They lived on mountain peaks, descended to be among humans during the winter solstice, and stayed with them until late July.
Both of the films available were worth watching. I enjoyed observing native Americans repairing outdoor pueblo examples. The Lost City Museum is a 5 Compass attraction that’s exactly where it needs to be.