Update on this site:
Our one ongoing concern about this site was that the pieces we found were salted, and now it may be confirmed. My hiking partner has been in contact with several professional archaeologists and even though none of them has visited the site, they all have viewed the photos of the sherds, and their consensus is that these four sherds we found were placed there for people like us to stumble upon.
Apparently “salting” in Clark county Nevada is not that uncommon and it was just a matter of time before we fell into the trap. Like my hiking partner said “everything was just too perfect” and he was right.
Now my question is: Now that we are 99% sure that the sherds are fakes, does that mean we can go back out and collect them?
Originally we thought:
This shelter site located deep within the Muddy Mountains is probably one of the more unique sites we have visited. Most of us have been in and out of hundreds, if not thousands of rock shelters and most of the time there is not much to see, but occasionally they contain rock art or other surprises.
There were several shelters at this site, but only one had noticeable surface artifacts and those were four pottery sherds. Most of the time this type of discovery would be interesting, but not a big deal, except that the four sherds in this case were painted and each with different patterns.
Our initial concern when seeing that many decorated sherds in one place was that the shelter been salted. Going with the assumption that the sherds had had not been placed there recently for someone like us to find, then were the pots or vessels traded or did several different groups of people occupy the shelter at different times in history??? Another option that has come up is that these pieces are historic. Possibly from the late 1800’s and were made for trading or selling as trinkets.
We didn’t even attempt to contact Las Vegas BLM because we knew that would be futile, but we did email two other archaeologists with expertise in this area. One of them responded back immediately and we will pass the information about the site along to him.