Keeping Up Appearances: Cosmetics in Sulphur, Nevada
AuthorBanks, Chelsea Nichole
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Sulphur, Nevada is an abandoned mining settlement in northwestern Nevada that was settled in the early 20th century. Archaeological work conducted at the site in 2009 and 2010 revealed the presence of an unusual number of beauty-related artifacts, including artifacts related to skin and hair care. These artifacts suggest a significant use of cosmetics by former residents. Cosmetics and other beauty aids represent an important marker for cultural change, particularly in the early 20th century, when changes in cosmetics use reflected changing values regarding gender and identity. In the context of gender theory and world systems theory, cosmetics provide insight into how Sulphur residents responded to and connected with the larger world. The cosmetics discovered at Sulphur demonstrate that Sulphur residents were aware of and participated with the outside world, but did so according to their own needs.