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Water Wars: The St. Francis Dam Disaster and Resource Competition in the American West

Author(s): James Snead ; Ann Stansell

Year: 2017

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Euro-American experience in the western states has been profoundly shaped by the fight for resources, among which water ranks extremely high. Traditional histories of such struggles focus on policy, macroeconomics, and large-scale social transformation. Historical archaeology, in contrast, offers the opportunity to emphasize the quotidian manifestations of these conflicts, particularly as they shaped the lives (and deaths) of local residents. Current fieldwork conducted by California State University, Northridge (CSUN) emphasizes landscapes associated with the Los Angeles Aqueduct, constructed between 1908 and 1913 and one of the most "iconic" features of the struggle over resources. In particular we have focused on the St. Francis Dam disaster of 1928, an aqueduct-related catastrophe that took hundreds of lives and destroyed vast swaths of countryside. This work, involving survey, excavation, and extensive engagement with stakeholders, offers a new look at the "water wars" from the perspective of those most directly engaged.

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Water Wars: The St. Francis Dam Disaster and Resource Competition in the American West. James Snead, Ann Stansell. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431919)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15984

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America