A New Look at the Donner Party

Donner Excavation

Publication: Archaeology, Vol. 65, No. 3

Author: Julie M. Schablitsky

Date of Publication: May/June 2012

PDF File: retrieve.pdf

URL: https://kclibrary.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,uid&db=afh&AN=78028661&site=eds-live


The article discusses the excavation of a pioneer campsite at Alder Creek, California where the Donner Party group of pioneers was stranded from 1846-1847. The author discusses viewing the Donner Party from a Native American perspective and describes being advised by Native American Jeff Van Peltto seek out the oral history of the “wel mel ti,” or northern Washoe, tribe. The author describes animal bones at the site and suggests that no human bones were found despite stories about cannibalism of the Donner Party. Also discussed is the 1980s-1990s excavation of the site by Don Hardesty.