Post-industrial Landscapes, Communities, and Heritage

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

Archaeologists have become adept at understanding urban and industrial sites through a study of material remains. However, such work increasingly takes place in a postindustrial context, where ongoing processes of ruination or decay, social conflict, environmental damage, and economic stagnation are seen as defining features of the physical and social landscape. What types of challenges does this environment pose for archaeologists, and what opportunities does it offer for archaeology to better serve and enrich the public? This session gathers presenters from Urban, Industrial, and Contemporary Archaeologies and Heritage Studies to demonstrate the ways in which understandings of postindustrial remains take archaeologists in new directions, and how archaeologists may play a useful role within contemporary postindustrial communities.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-17 of 17)

  • Documents (17)

  • Above and Below Ground: Teaching Combined Methodologies for a Holistic Understanding of the Built Environment (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kyla Cools. Katherine Boyle.

    During the summer of 2017, the University of Maryland’s Anthracite Heritage Program held a combined historic preservation and archaeological field school at Eckley Miners’ Village in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Complementing the University’s dual masters in applied anthropology and historic preservation, this field school emphasized the value of utilizing historic preservation and archaeology to inform one another. This field school has provided an invaluable opportunity for students to learn the...

  • Archaeologies of Disinvestment and Displacement: Documenting Detroit’s Foreclosure Crisis (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kaeleigh Herstad.

    The City of Detroit boasts "the largest and most transparent" demolition program in the US, having demolished approximately 12,000 structures in under 3 years. While the city is best known for its decaying industrial sites, the majority of Detroit’s vacant structures are residential: recently occupied homes, schools, churches, and businesses.This presentation focuses on the production and destruction of these more ordinary ‘ruins,’ examining the political and historical processes that create...

  • Chicago’s Gray House as Underground Railroad Station?: Narrating Resistance, 1856-present (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Rebecca Graff.

    The Gray House stands within Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood. Known for his anti-slavery stance, John Gray was Cook County’s first Republican sheriff, and a legend arose designating his home a station on the Underground Railroad. As an archaeological project at the site commences, its environs on Chicago’s northwest side feature an emerging network of clandestine routes and collective resistance, focused this time on a population at high risk of federal immigration raids. This paper...

  • Community Archaeology on a Social Housing Estate in the Early 21st Century: Middlefield Lane, Gainsborough (UK) (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Carenza R Lewis.

    Middlefield Lane, in the former Midlands industrial town of Gainsborough (UK), was one of many new post-war British social housing estates built to replace crowded, insanitary 19th century slums with better quality housing and open space, and modelled on the 1928 ‘garden city’ plan of Radburn, New Jersey. Radburn is a national monument but elsewhere, time and policy-makers have left such estates deprived and unprepossessing places with high levels of social deprivation. Social critics have...

  • Discourse, Dumpsites, and New Directions in the ‘Land of Trump’: Archaeology and Representations at Appalachian Company Coal Mining Towns (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Zada Komara.

    Appalachia has been represented problematically for the past 150 years: Appalachians are the homogenous, white ‘Other’ in a backward land of isolated hillbillies living in opposition to the American mainstream.  Such characterizations have been revitalized since the 2016 election to explain Appalachia’s ‘cycle of self-inflicted ills,’ to justify exploitation, and to obfuscate underlying structural factors.  Archaeologists in Appalachia have unique input about its materiality, identity, and...

  • Divergent Heritages: Two Case of Labor Conflict (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maura A Bainbridge.

    Ludlow, Colorado and the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago present two contrasting examples of a postindustrial environment.  Both were the sites of significant labor conflicts of the 20th century, but their preservations have taken opposite paths. Today Pullman stands as a National Monument and historic district, while Ludlow is a granite memorial in a so-called ghost town.  This paper compares both the material aspects of these postindustrial environments and the publics who interact with them....

  • Excavating the Motor City: Structural Racism and the "Archaeological Record" in Detroit (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Robert Chidester.

    In 2012 the Detroit Housing Commission received funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to demolish the long-neglected public housing development known as the Douglass Homes, a collection of townhouses and mid- and high-rise apartment buildings in mid-town Detroit. The Douglass Homes had been built on top of an earlier residential neighborhood on the edge of Paradise Valley, a once-flourishing center of African American commerce and social life in the city. Pursuant to...

  • From Ugly Tracks and Trains to a World’s Fair, and Today’s Iconic City Park: Urban Revitalization, Archaeology, and Influencing Positive Perceptions of Industrial Heritage at Spokane’s Riverfront Park (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ashley M Morton.

    Riverfront Park has come to be a symbol of environmentalism for Spokane, Washington as the site of an iconic park originating out of urban renewal efforts that culminated into the site of the 1974 World’s Fair Expo. As would be expected, much of this park’s history is steeped in the act of transforming urban decay into a "natural oasis." Subsequently, over the last forty years, recognition or appreciation for this location’s history as Spokane’s initial townsite has declined. With this in mind,...

  • Interrogating Legacies of Industry: Industrial Ruins and the Creative Destruction of Capitalism (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sam R. Sweitz.

    How do we interpret and reconcile meaning related to the creative destruction of capitalism?  That is, the basic tension that exists between the awe-inspiring power of capitalist production and the disdain inspiring proclivity for endless accumulation/consumption.  How can we rectify the many beneficial outcomes of global industrialization with the externalized costs (for some) that are now coming due (for all)?  Archaeological methodologies and theoretical models are particularly suited to...

  • Lighting the Ruhr: Industrial heritage and photography at night (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Hilary Orange. Trent Bates.

    This paper discusses a recent collaboration between Hilary Orange (lead on the 'Lighting the Ruhr' project, funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) and photographer / visual artist Trent Bates. During July 2017, we explored the links between industrial heritage and photography in the Ruhr region of Germany, meeting with photographers and members of photo clubs who photograph industrial sites at night and during the ‘blue hour’ - the time around twilight when there is still some light to...

  • Nostalgia and Heritage in the Carousel City: Community Identity and Creative Destruction (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maria O'Donovan.

    The "Carousel City" label for the Binghamton area stems from market "re-branding" for heritage tourism. The carousels were a gift from George F. Johnson, a welfare capitalist whose factories dominated the landscape until they were shuttered in the 20th century. They represent a material remnant of a prosperous, idealized past in a de-industrialized landscape. Archaeological research contests this idealized vision of the past and reveals the role of capitalist processes of creative destruction in...

  • Post-Industrial Placemaking: The Keweenaw Time Traveler and Community-Engaged Historical GIS (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Fayen Scarlett. Don Lafrenier. John Arnold.

    Placemaking in post-industrial communities often becomes contested due to issues of conflicting memory, lack of economic resources, collective mistrust, and the problems of environmental degradation. A historical spatial data infrastructure known as the Keweenaw Time Traveler offers an interactive public-participatory platform to promote the health, both cultural and economic, of Michigan’s remote post-industrial mining region. This online GIS-based historical atlas breaks down traditional...

  • Postindustrial Archaeology in the Workshop of the World: Philadelphia Industrial Sites, 1990-Present (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lauren J. Cook.

    Nearly all industrial archaeology is postindustrial. Physical and spatial organization of industry has historically changed rapidly enough that we seldom find industrial sites and structures in use by the same firms, for the same purposes, or even in the same industries, for more than a century. Once known as the "Workshop of the World," Philadelphia maintained a varied industrial base after the Civil War.  Physical decay, deferred maintenance, and the pressures of development all take their...

  • Postindustrial Places and "Big Data": Exploiting the Potential of Historical Spatial Data Infrastructures for Archaeology (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Daniel J Trepal. Don Lafrenier.

    This paper discusses the ways in which emerging "Big Data" approaches to historical research, in the form of GIS-based Historical Spatial Data Infrastructures (HSDIs), represent a powerful way urban and industrial archaeologists may better exploit historical source material. GIS-based research remains an underutilized asset within historical archaeology and its subfields. Drawing examples from HSDIs covering two postindustrial places (the city of London, Ontario and the Keweenaw Peninsula, in...

  • Pullman Heritage Project: Legacies of Race and Industry in a Fresh-Water Entrepôt (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Timothy Scarlett.

    The communities of Pullman live amid landscapes rich in industrial legacies. The legacies are industrial and economic, aesthetic, ecological and enviornmental. Since the town's founding, it has been part of global currents and flows of people, capital, products, and information. With the founding of Pullman National Monument by President Obama in 2015, the residents' long struggle to tell their stories have taken a new turn. Michigan Technological University's Industrial Heritage and Archaeology...

  • Shaken Apart: Community Archaeology In A Post-Industrial Earthquake City (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katharine J. Watson. Jessie Garland.

    This paper explores the interplay of a post-industrial setting, heritage and archaeology following a natural disaster. The setting is Christchurch, New Zealand, and the natural disaster was the devastating earthquakes that struck the city in 2010 and 2011, leading to the demolition of thousands of buildings across the city and its surrounds, followed by extensive rebuild-related earthworks. Throughout this process, numerous archaeological sites have been found and much of the built heritage has...

  • Sulphur Mining in Northern Chile (20th Century): Ghostly Landscapes, Temporal Movement, and the Rhetoric of Nostalgia (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Francisco J. Rivera Amaro.

    This communication presents an interdisciplinary research project that is carried out in the indigenous community of Ollagüe, in northern Chile. The temporal movement of the industrial materiality associated with the sulphur mining history of the village during the 20th century allows us to ask: could industrial ruins and their materiality engender memory spaces intertwined with the local indigenous community’s contemporary preoccupations? By considering different forms of time representations,...