Tag Archives: american archaeology

Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2013

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This blog has its roots in archaeology. After all, it is named “Indiana Jen” after my hero, Indiana Jones. As such, I would like to highlight the Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2013 as posted by Archaeology Magazine. The list includes (in no particular order):

Be sure to visit the Top 10 Discoveries of 2013 to learn all about these sites as well as others. And subscribe to the magazine to support many worthy historical and archaeological investigations!

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Native American Accounts of the Donner Party Provide New Insight into the Tragedy

Most school children have heard the story of the ill-fated Donner Party, the small group of pioneers who became stranded in the Sierra Nevada pass (now termed “Donner Pass”) and resorted to cannibalism to survive. This month’s Archaeology Magazine highlights a new and previously unexplored source on the Donner Party tragedy – the local Native Americans.

The Route Taken by the Donner Party

Archaeologist Julie Schablitsky incorporated oral traditions handed down by the Washoe people to learn more about what happened during the tragic winter of 1846-1847.

Their oral tradition recalls the starving strangers who camped in an area that was unsuitable for that time of year. Taking pity on the pioneers, the northern Washoe attempted to feed them, leaving rabbit meat and wild potatoes near the camps. Another account states that they tried to bring the Donner Party a deer carcass, but were shot at as they approached. Later, some wel mel ti observed the migrants eating human remains. Fearing for their lives, the area’s native inhabitants continued to watch the strangers but avoided further contact. (Archaeology Magazine, Schablitsky).

To learn more about this fascinating story, see the article in Archaeology Magazine: “Letter from California: A New Look at the Donner Party” or Julie Schablitsky’s Donner Party Research.

Texas Drought Uncovers Slave Cemetery

The record dry summer in Texas has uncovered a large slave graveyard in Corsicana, Texas. Archaeologist Alan Skinner of AR Consultants has uncovered at least twenty graves of African Americans, dating to the 19th century.

Archaeologists are currently working with government officials to determine the proper steps to further analyze and ultimately preserve the cemetery. To learn more about the finds, see the article in the Athens Review.

More New Findings at Civil War POW Camp

Continued excavations at the newly discovered Camp Lawton in Georgia are bringing to light new information on life in Confederate P.O.W. camps. Archaeologists have been able to identify the regiments and ranks of various soldiers based on moments and medals that the prisoners retained (and subsequently lost) during their interments.

To learn more about the recent archaeological discoveries, check out this story on MSNBC or here at CNN.