Before the existence of Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, and Hoover Dam, the area encompassing the one and a half million acres of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area was occupied by early desert Indian cultures, adventurous explorers, ambitious pioneers looking for cheap land and religious freedom, and prospectors seeking riches.
Based on archaeological evidence, several Native American cultures have been identified as having existed 8,000 to 10,000 years ago in an environment wetter and cooler than it is today. These cultures hunted game, gathered local edible plants and practiced farming. In a cave near present-day Lake Mead, the remains of large mammals were discovered by archaeologist Mark R.Harrington and paleontologist James Thurston including: ground sloth (Nothrotheriops shastensis), horse (Equus sp.), camel (Camelops sp.) and mountain sheep (Ovis canadensis). Notches found on the bones of animals located in that primitive dwelling show evidence that they were prepared and eaten by humans.