NDOT rewarded for prehistoric Indian village excavation | NevadaAppeal.com

NDOT rewarded for prehistoric Indian village excavation

Appeal Capitol Bureau

The Nevada Department of Transportation has received two awards for its handling of the discovery of one of northern Nevada’s largest prehistoric villages.

The discovery was made near the right-of-way for Phase 2A of the Carson bypass four years ago. NDOT officials hired the Louis Berger Group to handle the archaeological excavation. The three-year project unearthed thousands of Native American artifacts and located 48 dwelling sites.

Experts say the knives, shell jewelry and other artifacts date back nearly 1,400 years.

The American Council of Engineering Companies awarded NDOT its National Recognition Award for Engineering Excellence for the project. The state ACEC awarded the project its 2007 Grand Award for Engineering Excellence.

John Hohmann, chief archaeologist on the dig, said in a statement announcing the awards the excavation was extremely valuable, providing “a rare look into one of northern Nevada’s largest prehistoric villages.”

He said it helps anthropologists understand the layout of ancient villages in the Great Basin much better than ever before.

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Scientists excavated about 30 percent of the village, leaving the rest of the site untouched to preserve it for future generations. The artifacts removed are being prepared for a possible display at the Nevada State Museum. The Louis Berger Group is also planning a book on the site to share their findings with the public.

With the archaeological studies completed, work can now go ahead on the next phase of the bypass. The contract for Phase 2 has already been awarded to Road and Highway Builders of Reno, who won the $44.9 million contract to extend the freeway from Highway 50 south to Fairview. The work will take about two years and begin with a groundbreaking ceremony in late September.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.