UNR Anthropology Students Dig Virginia CIty

Few places in Nevada have the rich history of Virginia City. From the graveyard, to the Washoe Bar and Piper

University of Nevada Reno

VIRGINIA CITY, NV - You'd expect to find this kind of activity in Africa or Egypt.

But the 15 UNR Anthropology students and their professor are instead at St. Mary's Hospital in Virginia City looking for clues of how patients and their caregivers, the Daughters of Charity, got by in the last half of the 19-century.

“I've lived in Carson most of my life. Virginia City is a familiar place for me and I though it would be a really great opportunity for my first archeological experience to learn about a place I'm somewhat familiar with,” Alexia Sober a UNR Senior.

Alexia and her partner dug a small section about one foot deep behind the hospital.

It took them two weeks to make sure they didn't miss anything.

Other groups of students are doing the same up the hill, and in front of the hospital.

“Because this hospital was run by the Daughter of Charity there were more women here so we expect to find women's clothing articles, buttons, snaps of clothing to give us an idea what kind of things the women were wearing. What kind of dishes they were using. What kind of choices they were making in the administration of this hospital,” says Sarah Cowie, an Anthropology Assistant Professor at UNR.

The group shows some of their prized possessions.

They've dug up some animal bones, probably from meals served at the hospital.

There are pieces of glass consistent with wine bottles of the time.

Buttons made of bone and porcelain.

And the bottom of a Chinese rice bowl

The student will be up at the site until mid-August.

They will be happy to take anyone from the public on a tour.

Just head to the hospital Monday through Friday 9:30- 3:00 in the afternoon.

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