Sunday, June 12, 2011

Long time, no blog

It's been quite a while since I last blogged -- I came down with an acute attack of RLS (Real Life Syndrome) and got out of the habit. I haven't given up on the Donner Party, though -- all sorts of things have been going on.

Back in October I visited Alder Creek for the first time in ages. It was great to be back! John Grebenkemper and I -- mostly John, actually -- have been checking out some new leads that might help locate the missing Donner camp.

As y'all are aware, the 2003-04 digs at Alder Creek established the presence of a hearth in the meadow, some distance from the "George Donner Tree." The artifacts recovered date it to the mid-nineteenth century, indicate that it was not an Indian or transient camp but a Euro-American domestic camp, occupied for some time, and that the residents were starving. In other words, it can only be a Donner Party camp. Although we don't know if it was George's or Jacob's, one of the brothers' camps remains undiscovered. (There's no good evidence that a third camp, the so-called "teamsters' wigwam," ever existed.)

At any rate, armed with new evidence, John thinks he knows the general area where the missing camp was located. We'll be publishing our findings eventually, and with any luck we might interest another set of archaeologists in excavating at Alder Creek some day.