More than a dozen archaeologists and other volunteers are set to start digging in an Elliot Park vacant lot on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 6-7.
Kent Bakken, a University of Minnesota doctoral student in archaeology, is spearheading the project to foster a neighborhoodwide sense of shared history. The diggers will excavate remains of a homestead from the late 1800s at 911 Portland Ave., now a sliver of gravel between the former Artcraft Press Building and the Rappahannock Flats.
Bakken and his crew have the blessing of the parcel's owner, Chicago-based Tandem Developers. The developer plans to break ground on a 26-story condo tower called Elliot Park Lofts this fall.
About 40 people have volunteered for the project, but more are welcome to pitch in, Bakken said.
People will be assigned various tasks, including excavating and screening the dirt for objects, such as fragments of old bowls and other household wares.
The Minnesota Historical Society's archaeology department has agreed to catalog and analyze any objects salvaged during the community dig.
Other project sponsors include the Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc. (EPNI); the Hennepin History Museum; Tandem Developers; Adolfson and Peterson, Inc. (a St. Louis Park construction firm contracted for Elliot Park Lofts); Summit Envirosolutions; the Band Box Diner, 729 S. 10th St.; and EP Atelier (a coffeehouse slated to open later this month at 609 S.10th St.)