The Archaeology Of The Donner Party

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University of Nevada Press, Oct 18, 2005 - History - 156 pages
The tragic saga of the Donner Party has inspired both legend and scholarship ever since the survivors were rescued from the High Sierra snows in the spring of 1847. When archaeologist Donald L. Hardesty and four colleagues—a historian and three other archaeologists—turned their collective attention to the ordeal of the Donner Party, the result was an original and sometimes surprising new study of this pioneer group and their place in the history of overland migration. Now available for the first time in paperback, The Archaeology of the Donner Party combines the fruits of meticulous investigation of the Sierra Nevada sites with scientific analysis of artifacts discovered there and interpretation of the documents of the party and the memoirs of survivors. Through this interdisciplinary approach, Hardesty and his colleagues offer new insight into the ordeal of these ill-fated emigrants and demonstrate the vital role that archaeology can play in illuminating and expanding our understanding of historical events. Contributions by Michael Brodhead, Donald K. Grayson, Susan Lindstrom, and George L. Miller.
 

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Contents

The Donner Party Saga
13
Archaeology of the Murphy Cabin
31
Archaeology of the Alder Creek Camp
53
Donner Party Baggage
76
New Directions in Donner Party Research
110
The Timing of Donner Party Deaths
125
Notes
142
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Donald L. Hardesty is professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he also has been Foundation Professor, chair of the anthropology department, and acting dean of the Graduate School. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Oregon and did undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky. His research interests include historical archaeology, mining history, the archaeology of overland emigration, and human ecology.

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