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The Archaeology of Burning Man

The Rise and Fall of Black Rock City
By Carolyn L. White

Details

Overview

Each August staff and volunteers begin to construct Black Rock City, a temporary city located in the hostile and haunting Black Rock Desert of northwestern Nevada. Every September nearly seventy thousand people occupy the city for Burning Man, an event that creates the sixth-largest population center in Nevada. By mid-September the infrastructure that supported the community is fully dismantled, and by October the land on which the city lay is scrubbed of evidence of its existence. The Archaeology of Burning Man examines this process of building, occupation, and destruction.

For nearly a decade Carolyn L. White has employed archaeological methods to analyze the various aspects of life and community in and around Burning Man and Black Rock City. With a syncretic approach, this work in active-site archaeology provides both a theoretical basis and a practical demonstration of the potential of this new field to reexamine the most fundamental conceptions in the social sciences.

Contributor Bios
Carolyn L. White is a professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she holds the Mamie Kleberg Chair in Historic Preservation and is the director of the Anthropology Research Museum. She is also the editor of The Materiality of Individuality: Archaeological Studies of Individual Lives.