Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2010 Field School in Industrial Archaeology: Cliff Mine Survey

MTU has decided upon the site for our 2010 Field School in Industrial Archaeology:  The Cliff Mine (1845-1870).

Iron chimney projects above a stone stack on the site of the Cliff Mine. 

Join the Industrial Archaeologists from Michigan Technological University during May and June of 2010, helping document an historic mid-nineteenth century native copper mine in the heart of the Keweenaw Peninsula.  The Keweenaw is famous as one of the few places on earth where humans found abundant lumps of raw copper, ranging in size from pebbles to record-breaking boulders of pure metal.  We anticipate studying the ruins of the Cliff Mine (1845-1870), one of the region's earliest and most profitable mass copper mines.  The site sits atop and below the 200-foot greenstone bluff that runs along the spine of the Keweenaw Peninsula, about 30 miles northeast of Houghton, Michigan.  We will be reconstructing the evolution of the industrial process using clues left by the workers as they built, worked, and reworked the site's shafts, mill, engine house, kilns, stacks, shops, houses, and offices.

MTU IA grad student Craig Wilson at the base of a stack at the Cliff Mine.

The field school participants will learn multiple documentation techniques, such as digital and optical mapping; use of GPS and remote sensing in survey; learn measured drawing and drafting; taking architectural, archaeological, and object photographs; and undertake some excavations and artifact analysis specifically designed for industrial heritage and archaeology.  Along with fieldwork, there will be field trips, lectures, and discussions devoted to the history and technology of early copper mining in the Keweenaw, archaeological method and theory, and issues of ethics and heritage preservation for industrial heritage sites.
Looking over a waste rock pile at the 200 foot bluff that splits the site into upper and lower sections.

More information here:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Henshaw's thoughts

Marc Henshaw wrote some interesting thoughts inspired by a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  He was trying to raise awareness about the impending demolition of Andrew Carnegie's Pittsburgh Locomotive Works, but he also made some interesting observations about the challenges which heritage preservation poses for industrial (and post-industrial) communities.

The Pittsburg Post-Gazette article:

Archaeology Dude's discussion:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Call for Papers

I think this is a great opportunity for someone from an industrial archaeology background to overview current research in IA on quarries and industry...


FroGabriel Cooney:

Call for Papers: World Archaeology's special issue on stone mines and quarries

New approaches to stone mines and quarries; materials and materiality
A forthcoming issue of World Archaeology (Vol 43 No. 2)

Submission by September 2010 for publication in June 2011. 

It is now over twenty five years since the publication of a World Archaeology issue on stone quarries (WA 16.2). Since that time our understanding of the significance of the recognition, extraction and production of artifacts from particular stone sources has changed dramatically. Analytical approaches allied to the application of a range of scientific techniques have facilitated the discrimination of the use of sources, the tracking of the process of working stone, the nature and scale of production zones and the geographical extent of movement of objects. These advances have been matched by a recognition that in the past stone was not viewed as neutral and inert but rather as animate, alive, with rich symbolic potential and that is useful to think in terms of objects having cultural biographies. The extraction and working of particular stone sources formed an active medium in the creation of identities and memory in a range of social contexts and practices. The value of relating and linking the human working of and engagement with stone at different scales, from the microlithic to the megalithic, is increasingly being recognised. Quarries occur in specific locations but rather than categorising them as peripheral, industrial sites when they are evaluated in the context of the symbolic value placed on stone from particular sources and places in social landscapes, their wider importance can be appreciated. Papers are invited which consider these themes and in particular how advances in investigative approaches have contributed to our understanding of the social role and significance of the working and use of stone in the past.