Summer Excavation Planned at Donner Party Site


A major dig will soon be launched at the main Sierra campsite of the Donner Party.

Archaeologists are expected to search for artifacts by mid-June, at the site selected for a new $6 million museum in Donner Lake Memorial State Park. The search will be conducted near the present museum on the east side of Donner Lake. Artifacts found during the study may be displayed in the new museum.

The Donner Party became stranded in the winter of 1846 near present-day Truckee because of heavy snow. The party then split up between camps at Donner Lake and nearby Alder Creek.

About half of the 89 pioneers died and some survivors resorted to cannibalism to stay alive.

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