Charcoal Burners on the Pancake Range: Charcoal Production in Eastern Nevada during the late 19th century
The success of the mining industry in eastern Nevada during the late nineteenth century was heavily reliant upon regional charcoal production. Charcoal burners (colliers) converted the surrounding pinyon and juniper woodland into fuel for the smelters used to process mined ore. The colliers, who were primarily Italian-Swiss charcoal burners known as Carbonari, strategically located camp and production sites in order to keep up with the continuous demand for charcoal as the wood supply dwindled. They also found themselves in an economic system that left them vulnerable to exploitation and led to a violent altercation in 1879. The unique working and living conditions of the charcoal burners left a distinctive archaeological signature which is recognizable in hundreds of sites surrounding the Eureka and White Pine mining districts. ASM Affiliates conducted excavations at twenty-three of the collier’s working and living camps in the Pancake Range that have been recommended as potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. We will discuss the results of our field work and discuss their importance within the regional collier and mining industries.
Cite this Record
Charcoal Burners on the Pancake Range: Charcoal Production in Eastern Nevada during the late 19th century. Dayna Giambastiani, Shannon S. Mahoney. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437366)
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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology