Land, Lumber and Labor

Author(s): Aaron Howe; LouAnn Wurst

Year: 2016


Coalwood, a cordwood camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, provides an ideal setting to talk about internally related aspects of capitalist production from the vantage points of land, lumber, and labor.  The cordwood produced at Coalwood from 1900-1912 was used to fuel pig iron furnaces owned by the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company. Comparison of company reports, censuses, and local historical information suggest a dramatic change in the organization of production at Coalwood that coincides with the environmental consequences of diminishing timber resources.  This paper examines the relationship between the environment, organization of production, and capitalism by exploring the material remains of Coalwood residents’ everyday life.  Settlement of the area is linked to natural resources and their depletion had profound impacts on labor formation. By viewing the material remains as evidence of the social relations of production we tie the routines of daily life to larger processes of capital accumulation.

Cite this Record

Land, Lumber and Labor. Aaron Howe, LouAnn Wurst. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 435100)


Temporal Keywords
Early 20th Century

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 232