The Cassinelli-Perino Artifact Collection

In the early 1990s, Northern Nevada author and historian Dennis Cassinelli inherited a collection of Great Basin Indian artifacts from his aunt, Clare Perino. By using a projectile-point identification system developed by David Hurst Thomas called the Thomas Key, Cassinelli was able to type and date nearly every piece in the collection. He then decided to donate the artifacts to a suitable museum where they could be enjoyed by anybody interested in early Great Basin culture and history.

The Cassinelli-Perino Artifact Collection

In his book Preserving Traces of the Great Basin Indians, Dennis discusses the process of putting the collection together and includes detailed descriptions of the artifacts, as well as up-close photographs and stunning pen-and-ink drawings. The book also includes a fold-out chronology chart showing the projectile points across a 12,000-year time scale.

The collection contains hundreds of Great Basin projectile points laid over a beautifully painted display board. Items include:

  • A Topaz Lake point
  • Surprise Valley Split Stem
  • Steamboat points
  • Round and Turtleback scrapers
  • Rosegate Series
  • Resharpened Steamboat
  • Pinto Series
  • Petrified-wood points
  • Personal adornment items
  • A mocassin last
  • Knives
  • A mammoth tooth
  • Martis Stemmed
  • Martis Side Notched
  • Martis Leaf Shaped
  • Martis Contracting Stem
  • Humboldt Concave Base A
  • Humboldt Concave Base B
  • Martis Corner Notched
  • Gravers
  • Great Basin Crescents
  • Elko Corner Notched
  • Elko Contracting Stem
  • Drills
  • Early Pre-Mazama Points
  • Desert Side Notched
  • Daphne Creek Side Notched
  • Daphne Creek Eared
  • Chopping and Cutting Tools
  • Cottonwood Leaf Shaped
  • Cottonwood Triangular
  • Cutting Tools
  • Crescents
  • Bone Awl
  • Arrow-Shaft Straightening Stone
  • “Lopsided” points
  • Various “Untyped” points

The Cassinelli-Perino Artifact Collection is on permanent display at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center at 1477 U.S. Hwy. 395 in Gardnerville, Nevada. Be sure to drop in when you get a chance to see the artifacts, as well as the museum’s many other fascinating exhibits!

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