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Northeast Historical Archaeology

Authors

David B. Landon

Abstract

Historical archaeologists have frequently tried to interpret aspects of the social organization of production from artifacts at industrial sites. These studies have encompassed a variety of issues: the role of skilled immigrants, the effects of de-skilling work, and the ways workers resisted work discipline or used material culture to express their autonomy. Some recent studies protray the organization of production and the forces of industrialization as the overarching determinants of domestic assemblage pattering, while other studies emphasize factors such as household composition, household lifecycle, and the gender organization of labor. This paper reviews several studies of artifact assemblages from industrial sites, focusing in detail on the Ohio Trap Rock Mine Site. This review suggests both the promise and potential pitfalls of trying to use archaeological materials to understand the organization of industrial communities.

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