Postindustrial Landscapes, Communities, and Heritage

I’m excited to be in New Orleans this week for the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology. Dan Trepal and I are chairing a session entitled, “Post-industrial Landscapes, Communities, and Heritage,” and we have a diverse group of presentations lined up, to be followed by comments from our discussants, April Beisaw and Melissa Baird.

Check out the full presentation line-up and abstracts here, and come see us in Gallery 2 this Thursday!


Awakening to Ruins

I’m reading through Robert Ginsberg’s The Aesthetics of Ruin (2004) again and came across this wonderful poem he wrote about the different options for a ruin (120):

Awakening to ruins necessitates making choices. These choices of what to do about the ruins are choices of who the community is.

Choice for Ruin

tear it down

rebuild it

leave it alone

forget about it

build on top of it

move it to a museum

clean it up

use it for something else

landscape it

pave around it for a parking lot

put in a service road

forbid highway access

fence it in

erect a ticket booth

write a guidebook for it

sell reproductions and postcards

permit guided tours

make it a national monument

seek designation as a World Heritage Site

denounce it as a local eyesore

mow the grass

let it grow

put in lighting

put on sound-and-light shows

sell ice cream

install toilets

add gift shop

tear down contiguous structures

employ guardians

advertise on posters

distribute brochures

build interpretive center

introduce telephones

sell color film

support scholarly research

open tea house.


Ginsberg, Robert. 2004. The Aesthetics of Ruins. New York: Rodopi.

Archaeologies of Displacement and Urban Renewal in Detroit

Last week I attended the “Archaeology and Revitalization in Detroit” sessions at the Michigan Historic Preservation Network‘s annual meeting in Detroit, on the campus of Wayne State University. The session, which was split into two parts, featured the research of several Wayne State faculty members and graduate students and Robert Chidester from the Mannik & Smith Group in Maumee, Ohio. In this post, I’ll be discussing some of the main themes of the session, focusing on the cycles of displacement and ‘renewal’ that structure the city’s history (and future).

Continue reading “Archaeologies of Displacement and Urban Renewal in Detroit”