Archaeological dig underway in Boise

Archaeological dig on Boise's River Street

BOISE -- An archaeological dig is now underway in Boise, hoping to unearth new insight into the city's past.

Several colleges are taking part, and the dig is open to the public as well.

It's the University of Idaho's third project of this kind in the city.

They are partnering with the College of Western Idaho, the Idaho Archaeology Society and the Capitol City Development Corporation.

The dig began Wednesday near a home on River Street.

"We use archaeology to learn about the history, of the forgotten history of people in Boise," said Mark Warner with the University of Idaho.

Staff and students from the universities hope to find out more about one of Boise's multi-ethnic communities developed in the 1890s.

"This was a home to Basque immigrants, African Americans and other European immigrants, it's largely gone now but the history is still below the surface, the stuff they left behind, the remnants of daily life is still out there," said Warner.

They're digging near the home of Erma Andre Hayman who lived in the house until a few years ago when she died.

The diversity of the neighborhood peaked an interest for those hoping to learn more about daily life in past decades.

"In a lot of ways it's kind of been overlooked in terms of research and the role it played in city of Boise, so we're trying to learn more about the past and what it was like to live here," said Bill White, co-director of the project.

Archaeologists say they're not looking for any major discovery, but instead what families left behind -- their trash. They say those small artifacts can help provide small details about the local history.

"Bigger stories about the relationships between the community, relatively disenfranchised people and the community, with what the haves and have-nots looked like," said Warner.

They're hoping to find pieces of past that may otherwise have been kept hidden.

"We get the artifacts the material remains but we also get the signature of an activity and where it happened," said White.

Organizers say anyone is welcome to stop by the dig, tour the area, and learn more about the project.

It's located at the corner of Ash and River Streets and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturdays, from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.


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