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Abandoned 1882 rifle sparks archaeological quest in Nevada
Abandoned 1882 rifle sparks archaeological quest in Nevada

There it was, abandoned for the ages, propped up against a juniper tree in far-eastern Nevada's Snake Mountains, a Winchester Model 1873 repeating rifle: the gun, as legend goes, that won the American West. For archaeologist Eva Jensen, it's something much more — a mystery that continues to baffle the staff at Great Basin National Park: Who owned it? A luckless hunter or miner? Maybe an outlaw on the run? And how on earth did it get there? The search for answers has taken the 57-year-old veteran scientist out of the field and into tiny research libraries — scouting out old newspapers, 130-year-old bills of sale, family histories and yellowed letters in several...

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