Matthew Diamond, a senior anthropology major at UMSL, sifts through dirt looking for artifacts while excavating the former homestead of Daniel Boone Hays, grandson of the famous frontiersman Daniel Boone. (Photo by Myra Lopez)

Equipped with trowels, brushes and plenty of mosquito spray, a group of University of Missouri–St. Louis students recently worked to unearth St. Louis history.

The students, led by Patti Wright, associate professor of anthropology at UMSL, spent about two weeks excavating a cabin and out building at the former homestead of Daniel Boone Hays, grandson of the famous frontiersman Daniel Boone in rural St. Charles County near Defiance, Mo. The cabin dates back to 1812.

“It’s been really great,” said Matthew Diamond, a senior anthropology student from Lemay, Mo.

He was excited to get his first field-work course under his belt.

“I’m really glad to be out here and learning how things happen in the field,” he said. “It’s really cool to be finding something that no one has seen for so long. That’s really neat.”

The students cordoned off areas in the dirt and meticulously dug straight down 10 centimeters at a time. The dirt they collected was then sifted. Items unearthed by students included animal bones, old nails, ceramic pieces and bottles.

Last year, students excavated remains of the cabin as well as several units placed outside the main house on the property, built in 1830. The 2012 dig yielded nearly a thousand items including a $10 gold piece from 1879.

St. Charles County owns the property and plans on developing the area into a park and converting the main house into a museum. The items recovered by the students will be exhibited in the museum.

The students who took part in the dig were enrolled in ANTHRO 4100, Field Methods in Archaeology, a course offered by the anthropology program through the School of Professional & Continuing Studies at UMSL.

Media Coverage:
St. Charles County (Mo.) Suburban Journal 

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez

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