Two Rainy Days
The past two days have been pretty rainy. The research team has excavated down to the water table, so the deepest trenches start to fill up with water when we’ve had rain, so we couldn’t get much done in the field. As a result, we’ve spent two days working in the lab, having lectures and discussions, and having guest lectures. When there were breaks and the rain dropped off to a heavy mist, we hopped into the van and went to visit some other sites that teach about the Copper Country’s 20th century mining landscapes. We spent time talking about the concept of heritage and the problems posed by the concept of industrial heritage, the definition of “stakeholder” in heritage sites, and the environmental and social legacies of industrial wealth production.
While in the lab, we talked about the nature of metals, particularly iron, and how and why it decays, how we can ethically conserve it (or not), and why (or why not). Heather Walder, a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, spoke to the research team about her current study of Native American reuse of copper trade goods and glass trade beads. Ms. Walder was in Houghton studying artifacts curated in Michigan Tech’s curation facility.