Friday, November 10, 2006

Recent archaeology

The proposed expansion of the Emigrant Trails Museum at Donner Memorial State Park requires a preliminary environmental survey of the area, so an archaeological team has been digging near the museum for the past few weeks. According to a recent article in the Reno Gazette-Journal by Frank Mullen, "So far, the archaeologists have found rusted round and square nails, broken plates, tin cans, metal cups, arrowheads and scatters of basalt chips, a rock used for tools by ancient Indians." Even if some of the non-Indian artifacts can be confidently dated to the mid-nineteenth century, it would be impossible to tell whether they're associated with the Donner Party. Frank quotes Jeff Brooke, an associate state archaeologist: "An artifact would have to say 'Donner' right on it for us to be sure." It'll be interesting to see what turns up.

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