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When there is no ‘X’ to mark the spot: Questioning the Validity of the Archaeologist, Community Collaboration, and The Study of Transient Immigrant Labor

Author(s): Stephen Brighton

Year: 2014

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Summary

Over the past twenty-five years, historical archaeology has shifted focus asking different questions concerning the subaltern and how our studies can have an impact on and is relevant to contemporary communities. In terms of community interests and collaboration, the question raised here is what to do when archaeological data does not meet demands and expectations of interest groups? Does a lack of data in a long-term archaeological study represent failure? The case presented here involves an on-going community collaborative project searching for transient Irish immigrant laborers and their families constructing and living around the Blue Ridge Railroad fifteen miles west of Charlottesville. Aside from contractor and census records, the only evidence of their existence is made manifest through the presence of tracks, cuts, and tunnels. This presentation details the trials and tribulations of doing community-based archaeology and trying to locate a transient collective residing along the Blue Ridge Mountains.


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Cite this Record

When there is no ‘X’ to mark the spot: Questioning the Validity of the Archaeologist, Community Collaboration, and The Study of Transient Immigrant Labor. Stephen Brighton. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437355)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-79,08

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