Above-ground Archaeology Of Industrial And Post-Industrial Detroit

Author(s): Amanda Sosnowski; Suzanne Spencer-Wood

Year: 2016


A survey of Detroit’s ruins reveals the spread of industrial decline among all kinds of sites, and the post-industrial transformation of urban landscapes. Maps show the spread of abandonment from factories to other businesses, transportation sites, and residential areas, including schools and police stations. Photos of abandoned buildings show the processes of decay and ruination, from vandalism to the weather. What can Detroit teach archaeologists about the interpretation of material evidence for the fall of civilizations? Maps of Detroit show which areas have the highest level of abandonment and which areas are being revived. Dense residential areas are transformed with abandoned lots that sometimes become green spaces, playgrounds, or gardens.  Environmental quality improves when abandoned factories no longer pollute. High-rises are being restored, reused, or razed for new construction. Detroit’s ruins materialize the movement of industry to the non-union South, resulting in post-industrial landscapes.

Cite this Record

Above-ground Archaeology Of Industrial And Post-Industrial Detroit. Amanda Sosnowski, Suzanne Spencer-Wood. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 435103)


Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 579