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Archaeological Dig at Boise's Hayman House Unearths 10,000 Artifacts


Student Rie Misaizu searches for artifacts from the Hayman House on River Street in Boise. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Student Rie Misaizu searches for artifacts from the Hayman House on River Street in Boise.
Historians who oversaw a just-completed archaeological dig near Boise's River Street say a number of citizens who assisted in the dig this summer pointed to a Boise Weekly feature story from April as their source of inspiration to help with the excavation.

"It was amazing how much traction your spring piece got," said Dr. Mark Warner, chair of the University of Idaho Department of Sociology and Anthropology. "People kept referring to it all summer when they visited the project."

In the April article, BW chronicled the little-known history of the stone house at 617 Ash Street, which was built in 1907 and was home to Erma Andre Madry Hayman until she was 102-years-old. With help from the Capital City Development Corporation—the current owners of the structure—scholars and historians secured permission to conduct a full archaeological expedition on the site, drawing in students, teachers and citizens from throughout Idaho to assist the dig, which wrapped July 3.

"Overall, we had 54 volunteers contribute a total of 1,174 volunteer hours to the project," said Warner. "We had 511 visitors to the site."

The project recovered a stunning 10,000 artifacts and conducted five oral history interviews on site from people who recall living in or near the historic neighborhood.

Anthropologist William White, Warner's colleague and former student, has shipped several of the artifacts to his home base in Arizona where he will continue to catalog the findings. The rest of the artifacts are being shipped to U of I for analysis. 

A summary of the fieldwork and a full report on the project is expected by the end of 2015.