Abstracts of Volume XXV 2003

Issue No 1, Spring 2003

Technology as culture

Many will remember, or have heard of the novelist and scientist C.P. Snow’s diagnosis of British intellectual life in the late 1950s. He referred to the ‘Two Cultures’: that of the traditional liberal arts, such as literature, the visual arts, and music on the one hand, and of the sciences and useful arts on the other, moving increasingly apart. This analysis aroused a considerable amount of debate, and had the great value of making thinkers on both sides of the putative divide assess their respective cultural assumptions for their continued relevance to a Western society increasingly dependent on applied science.

Friedrich Edouard Hoffmann and the Ivention of the Continuous Kiln Process: The archaeology of the Hoffmann lime kiln and 19th-century industrial development (part 2)

Despite the widespread use of Hoffmann technology for lime-burning and brick manufacture in many parts of the world, its origins and development have not yet received the attention they deserve. This paper continues from the first part, published in Industrial Archaeology Review, XXIV: 2 to consider the methods of operation and the significance of the Hoffmann kiln.

The Ephemeral Archaeology of the Miniature Railway

The following article discusses the archaeology of miniature railways – railways hauling passengers on a minimum gauge with scaled-down versions of full-sized locomotives along seaside fronts or in public parks within the United Kingdom. Miniature railways are fun – were they not, they would not have lasted so long. Yet very little has been published about the social and economic background in Britain which led to the inception and establishment of the first miniature railways. It is hoped that this article will establish why miniature railways both merit and require archaeological study as an aspect of the industrial archaeology of leisure ands a form of ‘mimic technology’ of the industrial period, and how a study of their surviving material remains illustrates the worth of some unusual sources which have survived as evidence of a railway’s existence

The Archaeology of the Canal Warehouses of North-West England and the Social Archaeology of industrialisation

North-West England was the site of Britain’s first canal and of one of the last true canal warehouses. The Duke’s Warehouse in the Castlefield Canal Basin in Manchester was the first canal warehouse to have the classic design features of internal canal arms, multi-storeys, split level loading, terracing and water-powered hoists, and was built between 1769 and 1771. The Great Northern Warehouse, in the centre of Manchester, was the last of the monumental road, rail and canal interchanges to be built in the Victorian period. Finished in 1898, it marked the close of the canal warehouse tradition and the beginning of motorised road transport storage. This paper is based upon research undertaken by the author in 2000 and 2001 as part of the Tameside archaeological Survey. This is a landscape archaeology project funded by Tameside MBC and undertaken on their behalf by the University of Manchester Archaeological Unit.

Forging Ahead in Coalbrookdale: Historical archaeology at the Upper Forge

Ironbridge Archaeology (the archaeology unit of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust) has inaugurated a new programme of research-led, known as the Coalbrookdale Historical Archaeology Research and Training (CHART) programme. The twin aims of the CHART programme are to investigate hitherto-unexplored aspects of the development of the Coalbrookdale landscape, and to provide an intensive field training experience in historical archaeology for undergraduate and postgraduate students. This paper reports on the first phase of the CHART programme, a series of training excavations run jointly by Ironbridge Archaeology and the University of Birmingham in 2001 and 2002.

Issue No 2, Autumn 2003

Building a Working-Class Archaeology: The Colorado Coal Field War Project

The problem with archaeology is that too often we are speaking only to ourselves or to a small audience of aficionados who share our sometimes-arcane interests. In the Colorado Field War Project we have adopted a different philosophy and taken a different approach to broadening the audience for archaeology. We see archaeology as a craft that that can be put to the use of many different communities. In this approach the questions and what is important about the past is decided through a dialogue between the archaeologist and the communities that we serve.

Techniques of easing Road Gradients during the Industrial Revolution: A Case Study of Textile Lancashire

Analysis of road improvements during the Industrial Revolution period has focused on creating better surfaces, especially by using broken stone techniques, and has had comparatively little to say on easing gradients. Yet it is evident from field and documentary investigation that contemporary road engineers achieved a great deal in terms of easing gradients both by realigning routes and by cutting and embanking. Taking textile Lancashire as a case study, this article analyses the nature and extent of the improvements they made, arguing that some remarkable advances were achieved.

Bits and Pieces: A Mini Study of Computer Collecting

Professor John Hume’s Rolt lecture (Industrial Archaeology Review May 2003) drew attention to the ways in which hitherto unregarded forms of technology have come to be regarded as historically significant artefacts, and to the ways in which individuals had made this cultural change possible. The following article considers the ways in which individuals and institutions collecting computers reflect and drive the same process with the next geeration of technology, the computer.

Structuration revisited: A Text Case for an Industrial Archaeology Methodology for Far North Queensland

By applying a modified theory of structuration, industrial archaeological sites can be considered in terms of allocative and authoritative resources as a key to past agency. The combination of these resources identified in the surrounding industrial landscape and the storage capacity of the human mind make up a framework of ‘duality of structure’, the impetus to so-called ‘free will’. It is through structuration that the combination of these identified environmental resources provide an insight into industrial society’s past agency. Irvinebank, an historical tin-mining town in Far North Queensland, has been used as a case-study. After simplifying Giddens’ theory of structuration as a means of analysis and incorporating elements of the World Systems, the devised methodology helped form the hypothesis that Irvinebank contradicted the Australian prevailing economic climate and was perhaps a paradox of its time.