Bitner/Massacre Project

The Bitner/Massacre Project is a cooperative agreement between the Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, Surprise Resource Area, and the CSU, Chico Research Foundation. Antoinette Martinez, of the Department of Anthropology, serves as the principal investigator. This cooperative agreement provides for the implementation of a research design, research strategy, pedestrian survey and excavation, laboratory analysis, and report preparation for archaeological investigations of sites in the Bitner/Massacre area of Washoe County, Nevada.

In June 2003, a field season was implemented at the Bitner Ranch site. Sections of the site were surveyed and a grid was created for purposes of mapping, surface collection, and excavation. The first season’s data provided the basis for a master’s thesis researched and written by Mary Evans, Bitner Ranch: An Archaeological Investigation into the Contact Period at a Remote Site in the Northwest Great Basin completed in spring 2004.

A preliminary analysis of that summer’s activities was presented at the 2004 conference of the Society for Historical Archaeology on January 10, 2004 in St. Louis, Missouri. A pedestrian survey was conducted in fall 2004 in the context of the anthropology department’s archaeological survey class, and in June 2005 another two-week intensive pedestrian survey was conducted. At this time we began the recordation of sites and have several more to complete.

The work completed thus far on the Bitner/Massacre Project includes five survey or excavation field seasons, the identification and cataloging of artifacts, radiocarbon analysis, X-ray fluorescence analysis, obsidian hydration analysis, and research on historical and ethnographic background. This project also has the potential for archaeological laboratory methods experience in cataloging, identification, lithic analysis, and flotation.