To live in Greater Boston is to be surrounded by history, from the Old North Church to the Paul Revere House to Harvard Yard. But another part of Boston’s history is now being revealed in Dorchester, from the remains of a really old outhouse.

The archeological dig is happening in the backyard of a building now owned by the Epiphany School. In the 1800’s, it housed the industrial school for girls, where poor parents sent their daughters to be trained as domestic servants. Joe Bagley is the archeologist for the city of Boston, and he says it's the best site he's ever worked on.

“We have one gender, we have one age group, and we have one time period represented so we’re only looking at girls between ages around 10 to 15 and right about 1859 to 1900,” said Bagley.

“And so most sites we have a lot of different things happening especially in Boston, where we have lots of sites on top of each other. On this site we just have one site, pretty much every artifact we find we know exactly who to associate it with, which means we can get a lot more information out of every artifact that we find on this site.”

The natural instinct might be to steer clear of an old outhouse, or privy, as they called it back in the day. But that’s exactly what Bagley and his team were looking for.  

“We want outhouses because they have all the archeological data that we’re looking for, the trash goes into the outhouse and that’s what we want as archeologists is the garbage,” said Bagley.     

So far, they’ve unearthed thousands of artifacts from inside the outhouse foundation: doll parts, the base of a statue, a toothbrush carved from bone, and a pipe stem.

“So maybe one the girls was sneaking a tobacco pipe, it broke and they tried to hide it in the privy or just, you know, the matron was coming and she tossed in the outhouse,” said Bagley. “But this is a clay tobacco pipe from the 19th century that would have been used probably by one of the people in the house, definitely not the matron.”

“She would have been the picture of Victorian morality so there’s so no way she was smoking so it was probably one of the girls sneaking it into the house.”     

The team is made up of volunteers, archeology students and members of the community dream team, a city jobs program. Twenty-one -year-old Khaivon Castro is part of it.  

“I love to be the guy that’s finding everything. It brings joy to my heart to be like I’m that guy discovering, Indiana Jones,” said Castro.

“My friends that I’ve grown up with, it's pretty funny, it’s like uh, hey what you doing for the summer, oh I’m a camp counselor, and I’m like, hey, I’m an archeologist. And they’re just like ‘wow, you dig?’ and I’m like yeah.”

Once the artifacts have been dug up and cleaned, they’ll be cataloged, so the archeologists can tell the story of the girls who were here.

“We could find a site related to the Founding Fathers, which would be really interesting, but we have a lot of information about those people,” said Bagley.

“Basically these unknown forgotten women in history that basically are just missing in the historic record and we have deeply personal items that these girls had, that would have been shaping the formative years of their life. It’s just a really important site.”

This week, Bagley is turning his attention to an old trash pit nearby. He thinks it may contain hundreds of ceramic serving plates and bowls, and unearth an even fuller picture of life at the industrial school for girls.