MOSCOW, Idaho -- A group of University of Idaho anthropology students hope to uncover part of Moscow's history while also aspiring to be future archaeologists.

The 18 students and two volunteers started an archaeological dig at Moscow High School last week, looking for items ideally left behind by some of the city's first settlers and residents.

"You find those little moments, those little glimpses and moments," said UI assistant professor Katrina Eichner, who's helping lead the dig along with another colleague. "We're looking for the traces of human activity and human history."

Eichner said the group decided to dig around the high school due to the plot's proximity to downtown Moscow. The land on which the high school stands, Eichner said, is one of the older areas of Moscow and had old homes that were eventually torn down to make way for MHS. The current high school building is 80 years old.

Using historic blueprints, the students are selectively digging near the foundations of homes that sat on the land over a century ago.

So far, the group has found mostly old "trash," as Eichner put it. Items that have been dug up include bottle caps, glass, buttons, dish fragments, and animal bones.

Moira Riggs, a UI senior, said that archaeological digs can bring a rush of excitement no matter what's found. "This could have been from the middle of the last century or whatever," she said of the experience after taking a break from shoveling dirt.

Most of the small, square digs by the students will be no deeper than one meter.

While the students are earning class credit for the work, the dig is also open to members of the public and high school students. Eichner said the group hopes to inspire future archaeologists. "This is broadening the student's horizons of what is available to them."

Eichner said the project's proximity to MHS may also provide insight as to what life was like for students there over half a century ago.

"It fits into the story of Moscow being a town where public education is really important," she said.

Members of the public are encouraged to join in on the dig, but are asked to contact UI's anthropology department before showing up. Future digs will occur on Fridays and Saturdays for the next few weeks.

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