Culture Change and the New Technology: An Archaeology of the Early American Industrial Era / Edition 1

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Harpers Ferry was one of America's earliest and most significant industrial communities - serving as an excellent example of the changing patterns of human relations that led to dramatic progress in work life and in domestic relations in modern times. In this well-illustrated book, Paul A. Shackel investigates the historical archaeology of Harpers Ferry, revealing the culture change and influence of new technology on workers and their families. He focuses on the contributions of laborers, craftsmen, and other subordinate groups to industrial progress, and examines ethnic and interracial development in an economy that was transformed from craft-based to industrial.

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Editorial Reviews

Investigates the rise of industry at Harper's Ferry, now in West Virginia, during the 19th century and its impact on working life and domestic relations. Examines the shift of the economy from craft-based to industry-based, the establishment of the national armory that was raided by abolitionist John Brown, and the contribution to economic development of laborers, craftsmen, and other subordinate groups. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
'An insightful discussion about the implications of social inequality within an industrial society.'
Historical Archaeology, 32:2 (1998)

'Interesting and cogent...A useful archaeological reference for the material manifestations of early industrialisation.'
The Midden, 30:1 (1998)

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction: Industry and Interpreting the Past. At the Mercy of the Capitalist. The Most Eligible Spot on the Whole River: Harpers Ferry - The Early Years. Under a Malign Influence: Factory Discipline, Political Factionalism, Corruption, and the New Technology. Their Little Gardens: Landscapes in an Armory Town. Customs and Habits Interwoven with the Very Fibers of Things: Consumerism among Armory Households. Oh! Let Oppression's Hand Be Stay'd: The Transformation from Craft to Wage Labor. Home...! Refuge from Sadness. Appendix: 1842 Interview with Armory Workers. Index.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2004

    Excerpt of review from The Midden

    'In this volume Shackel presents a very interesting and cogent discussion on the impact of early capitalist industrialisation on people and their community. This is a very good study in which an anthropological/social historical theoretical approach has been aplied to 'industrial archaeology'. The text is well-written, and illustrated with maps, plans, art work, and photographs. For those of us that investigate industrial sites, Shackel's study provides a use ful archaeological reference for the material manifestations of early industrialisation.' Robbin Chatan

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