The industrial archaeology of the archaeology industry

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In this paper I investigate the archaeology industry, the commercially driven sector of our discipline that excavates and surveys sites in advance of development as a part of the wider industrialized world. Through examination of the multiple elements of commercial archaeology (Cultural Resource Management - CRM) operations, using the UK heritage management context as a case study, I examine the industry’s similarities with other sectors such as mining or manufacturing that are more the traditional focus of industrial archaeology. I explore the raw materials, processes, labor, tools, and products of archaeological practice. I also reflect upon the history of the discipline and the traces that archaeologists themselves leave behind following the completion of their work. I contend that, by consideration of the commercial archaeology industry in such a way, we can spark new debates and suggest new avenues of study for industrial archaeology as a whole.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
JournalIA: The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Issue number1+2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • archaeology
  • industrial archaeology
  • archaeological methods
  • archaeological theory
  • tools


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