U of I Archaeologists Hold Public Excavation at Moscow High School
Trevan Pixley

U of I Archaeologists Hold Public Excavation at Moscow High School

MOSCOW, ID -  Moscow High School students and their counterparts at the University of Idaho have the opportunity to dig into Palouse-area history throughout September on the high school campus.

A team of archaeologists from U of I, as well as high school and college students, are conducting a public excavation at the site in hopes to find objects from the high school’s history over the past 80 years –and from Moscow’s earliest settlement.

“What is today the high school property was a part of the town that was the earliest settlement of Moscow,” said Professor Mark Warner,  an archaeologist in U of I’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. “Before the high school was built on that site, there were homes and an earlier building used as the high school dating back to the 1890s, if not earlier. We hope to identify things associated with 19th century life in Moscow. Sometimes the small objects can tell bigger stories.”

Warner and Assistant Professor Katrina Eichner are leading the excavation with their students. Students from Moscow High School - coordinated by Lee Anne Eareckson, who teaches honors biology, French and world languages and cultures - will also take part.

“I hope that students will get excited about archaeology and learn that archaeology isn't a discipline that happens only far away, but that can also take place in our own backyards,” Eareckson said.

Work at the site started Friday, Sept. 6, and will continue over the course of September. The site (located at 402 E 5th St., Moscow) will be open to the public from 2:30 - 5 p.m. each Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Saturday, through approximately October 5th.

Public excavations provide opportunities for students and others to learn and experience archaeology outside of a classroom setting, Eichner said. Artifacts found at the site will be cleaned and catalogued by students at the U of I and then be used for research by both high school and college students.

“Archaeology is a tremendous way for many members of a community to actively participate in and explore their local history,” Eichner said. “History is everywhere, and archaeology is a tremendous tool to discover new stories about the past and share the experience with hundreds of people.”

Funding for the project was provided by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as well as the John Calhoun Smith Memorial Fund in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, which supports the study and preservation of history in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

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