Dig at Donner wraps up early | TheUnion.com

Dig at Donner wraps up early

With an archaeological dig completed ahead of schedule at Donner Memorial State Park, progress on a proposed museum should move forward as planned.

Right now state park officials don’t think there were any findings significant enough to delay construction of the High Sierra Crossing Museum, but the final report has not been reached. Archaeologists completed the dig on Oct. 31, ahead of the predicted Nov. 3 completion date. Construction should begin in the spring of 2008.

“If we determine no significance they will go ahead to build,” said Jeff Brooke, an associate state archeologist with California State Parks. “But if we determine significance then we move into phase three, which is more extensive excavation and more work.”

The survey found artifacts from the original concession stand near the monument dating from around World War I, some 19th century square nails and lead, and prehistoric points and formed tools, Brooke said.

“Conclusions about our findings’ significance will be analyzed and written up this winter,” Brooke said.

Robin Ettinger, project manager with California State Parks, said the results of the report may influence the design of the museum, but shouldn’t change the overall timeline.

“The working drawings should be completed in nine months. Then the museum would be up for contract late next year, taking bids next winter, and construction could begin in the spring of 2008,” Ettinger said.

The museum would be near the existing museum, closer to Donner Pass Road, and the existing museum would be used for offices space, Ettinger said.

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