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Archaeologists Dig Up History at the Old Fort Boise

June 12, 2014

 

BOISE -- A group of archaeologists and volunteers are in the middle of a historical dig in Boise. They're excavating under the front porch of one of the oldest homes in Boise.

 

On officer's row on the campus of what is now the VA hospital, a group of archaeologists are busy at work looking under the old porch of a home built in the 1860s.

 

We're looking for anything that is a human remain, said Audrey Chapman.

 

Not the kind of remain that you're thinking of. They’re looking for what the people back then left behind.

 

This is one of the earliest houses still standing in Boise, Idaho and it's an opportunity for us learn about Boise's early history, said Mark Warner, an associate professor of archaeology at the University of Idaho. They're digging and sifting, slowly uncovering history.

 

Mostly children's toys, a lot of nails since part of the house burnt down in the 30s, said Ella McCallie, an incoming University of Idaho student. This group is made up of professionals, students and volunteers who all share a love of history.

 

We're looking for the, basically the leftovers of everyday life 150 years ago, said Warner. And for the students, this is a chance to get real world experience outside the classroom.

 

Until you're actually confronted with having to make decisions about how to excavate, how to pull something out of the ground, how to map something, this is how you really learn things, said Warner.

 

And discover them as well. They've found all sorts of nails, some marbles, toys and even some fabric from a doll.

 

That was my cool find, said Chapman as she presented the torn and tattered fabric.

 

The organizers want to share this experience with the public. If you want a tour and have some questions answered about the process, you can free of charge.

 

It's open to the public until Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. It's on the VA campus on Officer Row at Old Fort Boise.

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