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Corduroy Roads as a Feature of the American Landscape: Historical Reports from the Trenches

Author(s): Corey D. McQuinn

Year: 2015

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Corduroy roads are an infrequently considered element of the American frontier landscape. A recent discovery of an 18th-century corduroy road along New York's border with Ontario suggests that corduroy roads have a great deal of research potential not only in archaeology, but also in ecology and the study of past landscapes. This paper examines the historical record of corduroy roads in newspapers and popular accounts. While corduroy roads are rarely well documented archaeologically, the historical record suggests that these features are much more common than we think. Also, contemporary accounts of corduroy roads display a very interesting contradictory nature, balancing decay, degradation, and abandonment with a celebration of American pioneering and growing public fascination with archaeology. Finally, the occurrence of corduroy roads in late 19th-century utility trenches, as reported in newspaper articles, may be a useful tool in predicting the presence of corduroy in transportation projects. 

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Corduroy Roads as a Feature of the American Landscape: Historical Reports from the Trenches. Corey D. McQuinn. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433992)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 275

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