This is a story that informs how we learn other people’s stories. Archaeology is more than just digging around; when done right, it relies on historical knowledge of an area to better select what should be excavated and why.
The resulting materials are then analyzed so we can expand on the known history. By sharing the stories behind the digs of four Virginia City, Nevada, saloons, Kelly Dixon has methodically revealed how excavations can shed light on a culture’s dining habits, vices and amusements, architecture and more. The saloon was much more than those shanties entered through swinging doors in popular movies. Dixon wields the right tools to paint us an accurate picture of 19th-century saloon culture. —Meghan Saar