Pen d’Oreille City dig results to be presented Saturday

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BAYVIEW — Results of Pen d’Oreille City archaeological investigations by the University of Idaho will be presented at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The public is invited to this Idaho Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month event.

Pen d’Oreille City, located at the south end of Lake Pend Oreille in Farragut State Park, was the second permanent Euroamerican settlement in North Idaho, settled in 1866.

It was strategically located for water transportation to and from the Clark Fork River. It was a waypoint for gold-seekers, supplies and mail traveling to the Montana Territory and British Columbia gold mines.

After 1880, the city declined as gold mining waned and railroads became the dominant form of transportation and roads improved.

The first phase of the archaeological investigations consisted of surface survey and recording of the site in 2015 by the University of Idaho Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology at the request of the Kootenai County Historic Preservation Commission through a Certified Local Government grant.

Primary goals were to identify features and temporally associated artifacts, conduct historical research and assess the site’s eligibility for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. Conclusions from Phase 1 were that the Pen d’Oreille City site is eligible for nomination and that further research was required to complete the evaluation.

Phase 2 resulted in expanded site boundaries, discovery of more artifacts and detailed recording of site features such as rock alignments, foundations and roads/trails.

Excavation, feature recording, diagnostic artifact collection (343 collected and analyzed) and intensive survey and mapping were completed in August 2017 by the University of Idaho and volunteers.

Findings indicate that historic site occupants at various times participated in domestic activities, hunting, drinking soda and beer, homesteading, cement-making, blacksmithing, woodcutting and military training.

Surface artifact and sediment disturbance in areas combined with development projects and evidence of intense looting have greatly impacted the site.

Results will be presented by Idah Whisenant, University of Idaho graduate student, in the Bayview Community Center, 20298 E. Perimeter Road in Bayview.

The presentation is sponsored by the Kootenai County Historic Preservation Commission and the Bayview Community Council. Artifacts recovered from the project will be on display.

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