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Big Dig Tells Nuanced Story About North Idaho Town

SANDPOINT, Idaho - The Northwest is filled with towns that have their own storied histories. Sandpoint is a fashionable resort village in scenic north Idaho. But it used to be a rougher place, built around the timber and railroad industries. Today, researchers are piecing together much of that history after an unusually large archaeological dig. Correspondent Doug Nadvornick reports the dig was prompted by a highway construction project.

I’m standing in downtown Sandpoint, Idaho. About a block behind me is US Highway 95. That’s Idaho’s major north-south highway. It runs through downtown Sandpoint, a bustling little downtown area.

Right across a big creek from here is a bypass road that the state of Idaho is building to move the highway out of downtown Sandpoint.

What’s significant is that the bypass is built on Sandpoint’s original town site from 1882 and that meant the state had to do an archaeological project to find whether there were cultural artifacts. And what they found was pretty significant.

Marc Münch: “This is probably the largest archaeological project ever conducted in the state of Idaho.” Marc Münch is Idaho’s highway archaeologist.