It’s not uncommon for burial sites to be discovered along the Oregon, California and Mormon trails, according to Rick Weathermon, senior research scientist with the university’s Department of Anthropology.
He can recall about a dozen such discoveries being reported to the university during his roughly 15 years with the school. Many more don’t get reported, he added.
“Just in terms of the number of people buried along those trails, it’s actually surprising more of them don’t turn up,” he said.
Some settlers were buried where they died along the trail, Weathermon said. Other times, bodies were carried for a few days so they could be buried next to other graves.
On some occasions, someone in the wagon train would build a coffin, but other times, the body might have been just rolled up in blankets and buried.