U of I anthropology students are reclaiming a part of the past

U of I anthropology students are reclaiming a part of the past »Play Video
Hands-on archeological experience
MOSCOW, ID – Ever wanted to be part of an archeological dig but could never quite afford to travel all the way to the Middle East or South America?

Here is how you can be a part of an excavation as close to home as Moscow.

Students are digging up stories of everyday life on the Palouse from over a hundred years ago, piece by piece.

Basically we are digging through hundred year old trash,” said Anthropology Undergrad Alyssa Gryffith.

This is the future site of the integrated research and innovation center. But through mid-August it is an archeological excavation site.

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s homesteads stood where the U of I campus now stands, including the house of U of I’s original Gardner, John Almquist.

Later in the 1940’s the Navy ROTC building was built and used as class rooms and then as the ROTC building until it burned down in 2011.

"What we are looking for mainly are historic items that would be of daily use," said Co-field Director Abram Grisham.

Mark Warner, the project director, said it’s the little things recovered from the dirt that can tell the biggest stories about life in the past.

"This is the stuff that people just don’t record in history books and that people just don't record anywhere,” said Warner. “Were they healthy, were they sick, were they rich, were they poor?"

Warner said it’s easy to forget that people lived here in homes before it was a college campus and this project is a way to reclaim that part of the past.

Not only is it a great history lesson for the community but it is wonderful hands on experience for the students!

"It's right outside the back door of our department and they can come, they can volunteer for a morning, an afternoon, a week,” said Anthropology Undergrad Kristen Tiede. “So they can still get their hands dirty, the experience, see what's going on, and they don't have to go far away, camp in a tent, or pay for very expensive credits."

"You can read about it in the history books, you can read about it in the textbooks, but it’s completely different to see it for yourself so the hands-on experience is really neat," said WSU Anthropology Grad Rebecca Higgins.

But you don’t have to be an anthropology or history student to take part in the dig.

"If somebody wants to be a part of this, they're welcome to come in, grab a trowel and we'll help them discover a part of history," said Grisham.

If you would like to volunteer to help out with the excavation you can email the project director at mwarner@uidaho.edu or you can just show up at the site of U of I for a tour and to sign up.