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ARCH-THEORY  April 1999

ARCH-THEORY April 1999

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Subject:

Re: industrial archaeology

From:

James H Brothers IV <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 06 Apr 1999 17:43:58 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (110 lines)

I agree that cottage industries are important.  The oversized smithy at Montpelier
provided half of the income for the entire plantation.  In instances like the boot
and shoe industry or the more recent sweater industry of Scotland and Ireland the
production is cottage, but the organization/distribution is industrial.

I'm still not convinced that this should be approached as "industrial archaeoogy".
The sites are essentially domestic.  It is the marketing/distribution network that
needs to be looked at as industrial.

Jamie


Steve Dobson wrote:

> James,
>
> I think the role that cottage industries play in the development of
> industrialisation cannot be underestimated.  Production to an 'industrial'
> scale can exist without completely changing the landscape or causing
> obvious material disturbance.  The boot and shoe industry in Britain, for
> example, is often difficult to assess because of the nature of
> production.  Small backrooms and out-houses were employed to do a great
> deal of the out sourcing.  The level of work and organisation is
> 'industrial', however, the remains are few.  If we were to examine just
> one of these home workshops, we would not perhaps consider it to be of
> industrial importance or size - obviously this piece of evidence is only a
> small fraction of what was the entire industry.  Out of context its
> importance is lost, but it does indeed have industrial importance.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Steve
>
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Steve Dobson                                    Tel:   +44 01904 433953
> Experimental Officer                            Fax:   +44 01904 433902
> Department of Archaeology                       Email: [log in to unmask]
> The King's Manor
> University of York
> York, YO1 7EP, UK
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> On Thu, 1 Apr 1999, James H Brothers IV wrote:
>
> > I think whether or not a site  is "industrial" depends on a number of factors.
> > The site must be primarily concerned with an industrial process (mining, iron
> > making, tanning, etc.).  It must also be industrial in scale.  We are talking
> > more than a couple of small buildings and areas measured in square kilometers,
> > not meters.  All too often archeologists (notice the lack of an a in the word),
> > mistakenly identify craft or cottage industries as "industrial".  There is a
> > substantial difference between a 2 fire blacksmithy and a blast furnace.  To
> > truely be "industrial" the scale of the activity should be industrial.
> >
> > I'm not sure that I would agree with Bea on classifying a 4th millenium BC salt
> > production site as industrial.  Did it cover acres, involve lots of people,
> > leave heaps of industrial waste, or substantially alter the landscape?  If not
> > then it is probably not industrial.  Yes it produced a product, but so does a
> > shoemaker, wheelwright, or cooper.   Should these be classed as industrial?
> >
> > A problem we have here in the US is a marked "domestic" bias at our colleges and
> > universities.  Most of the sites excavated are domestic, so most of the corpus
> > of information is domestic and the preponderance of the training is on domestic
> > archaeology.  As a result many archaeologists in the US do not have the
> > background necesary to properly address an industrial site.  A recent eggregious
> > example of this was a talk given at a conference I attended.  The site was a
> > company town built specifically to  to support an industry.  When the industry
> > closed the town died.  The speaker spent the entire talk discussing the domstic
> > structures and dismissed the industrial ones as "ancillary".
> >
> > I have just submitted the draft of my MA thesis on the colonial blast furnaces
> > of Virginia.  During my research I found numerous examples of researchers
> > reaching false conclusions because they never bothered to find out how iron was
> > made.  You can't do "industrial archaeology" without understanding at least the
> > basics of the process.
> >
> > I do agree that industrial archaeology should not be defined as a specific time
> > period.  I think this is due to confusing the "Industrial Revolution" and
> > industrial archaeology.  There were industrial sites before the Industrial
> > Revolution.  Industrial archaeology should be thematic, not tied to a time
> > range.
> >
> > JH Brothers IV
> >
> > Bea Hopkinson wrote:
> >
> > >    I have always classified my own work as 'industrial archaeology' -
> > > that is, that part of my studies that relates to an ancient organized
> > > salt industry traceable to the 4th millenium BC in Mesopotamian and 1000
> > > BC in the UK. When this same industry continues into the historic period
> > > i.e. the Roman and mediaeval period I refer to it as a 'mediaeval
> > > industry' for which we do have archaeological remains, and thus is still
> > > 'industrial archaeology'.  At the same time I have also referred to it as
> > > 'a historically ancient industry' because of the historic texts that
> > > relate to the site.
> > >
> > >     In my mind the above can correctly be described as 'industrial
> > > archaeology' differentiated from the modern understanding of terms like
> > > 'industry' or  'industrial revolution' or the socio-ecomic aspects of the
> > > latter.  If there is ressurrection of such modern sites in an
> > > archaeological sense then why not just say 19th century or 20th century
> > > industrial remains
> > >
> > > Bea
> > >
> >
> >



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