Making Place in the Capitalocene: The Toxic Legacies of Mill Creek Ravine

Author(s): Haeden E. Stewart

Year: 2018


Recent archaeological work has highlighted how the objects archaeologists study—far from being inert representations of the past—are lively, political, and potent in the present.  This paper proposes that archaeological studies of the industrialized modern world must extend this reflexive turn to questions of ecological harm and pollution.  Drawing from my excavations of an early twentieth-century industrial worker’s camp in Edmonton, Alberta I investigate how the rise of industrial-scale production in Western Canada remade the daily life for local workers by providing new consumer goods, manufacturing jobs, as well as—due to rampant pollution—remaking the landscape and the ways in which the local population interacted with it.  In focusing on the nexus between industrialization, poverty, and long term pollution, this paper demonstrates the value of archaeology as a discipline whose focus on long temporalities and materiality provides insight into a pressing contemporary political issue: ecological devastation and its social impact.

Cite this Record

Making Place in the Capitalocene: The Toxic Legacies of Mill Creek Ravine. Haeden E. Stewart. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441358)

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): 872