Tests of devices for defense and for peaceful uses of nuclear explosives have been conducted here since the 1950s. The nation’s principal nuclear explosives testing laboratory was located within this 1,350 square mile, geologically-complex area in the isolated valleys of Jackass, Yucca and Frenchman flats. Selected as the North American test site in 1950, the first test took place on Frenchman Flat in January 1951. Today, the Nevada Test Site is one of the nation’s most important expressions of the Cold War.
Archeological studies of the Nevada Test Site have revealed continuous occupation over the past 9,500 years. Several American Indian cultures are represented. Southern Paiutes were the most recent group to occupy the area