St Thomas Ghost Town

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St. Thomas Nevada, Ghost Town a closer look at a well preserved house.
The distances in time and culture fit St Thomas squarely into fields such as historic archeology.* It cannot be overly stressed that all due respect for the inhabitants of St Thomas and their descendents is always foremost when we examine and communicate about these remains. Though very little remains of the place a lot can be learned from what is left. The A well preserved house in St Thomas Ghost Townmaterial culture of that time is well known and any relics are well buried in the mud. But they style and construction of any building remains could be revealing. There are things like fence posts and street and curb boundaries that are still evident.

Some of the structures that were actively used before St Thomas was flooded were made completely of concrete poured into some kind of molds. That is, it appears that the method of construction was to pour the concrete into molds that were custom made for each job. We see at almost all locations evidence of individually cut boards - cast marks - for the walls at each location.
A well that used to service a house in St Thomas NevadaAnother interesting feature is that these places are half buried. That along with the often 12 inch plus wide concrete walls, help to keep the inside of the building relatively cool. Interestingly that is a strategy used by the ancient inhabitants who used the knolls and upper benches to build their structures sometimes buried, sometimes semi-buried like these. The walls of the Anasazi structures were build with available materials which either incidentally or intentionally provided a cooling effect.

Even if the main structure on a property was gone, almost each place had evidence of a well. These were often made of the same cast in place concrete. The concrete is in surprising good condition in all places so the wells are still functional. It can be imagined that the pristine water table was rather near the surface. This made easy to dig wells into the soft sand, but constrained how deep you could make a buildings foundation. We apologize for the angle of this shot into the well but it was the only way we could get the reflection of the water into the picture. This well, shown next to the building above, is back in action.
Elevation might have been the deciding factor in where the Anasazi and Basketmakers put their structures. Having lived in the area for centuries the ancient dwellers of this region knew St Thomas Ghost Town Househow the water table can effect the depth of their buildings, thus they often used the higher benches to make the buildings.

In this glimpse inside of this building, it must be noted that the inset portion of the image was processed separately due to the high light contrasts encountered. As is visible, the mud in the building reached an equilibrium height equal to the height of the deposit outside of the building.

This is an interesting anomaly because the uncovered well was not filled in, The reason might be that the 'house' had a foundation and the well by definition did not. The water table upon which these wells were dependent is no doubt closer to the surface now than they were in pre-flood times. It appears that the accumulation of mud was not the same inside the wells.
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