All posts by Steven Walton

Summer Field School Joins Forest Service’s “Passport in Time”

Coalwood lumber camp c.1900

This year’s archaeological field school at Coalwood logging camp, run by Prof. LouAnn Wurst, has been included in the U.S. Forest Service’s “Passport in Time” (PIT) program. PIT is a volunteer cultural heritage resources program sponsored by the Forest Service, with partners including some State Parks and Historicorps. This year’s dig at Coalwood will have Wurst overseeing 10 volunteers from 1-5 Aug. in excavations at the camp’s boarding houses.

For mor information on the PIT program and this year’s offering, click here.


John Baeten

John Baeten (Ph.D. candidate, IHA) has received a research grant from the Mining History Association to study the industrial heritage of the Mesabi Iron Range of Northern Minnesota. Baeten’s research project investigates the historic context of low-grade iron ore mining and processing in the Mesabi Range through the lens of industrial heritage and environmental history. His project will consist of  both archival and field research. While in the field he will be conducting a driving and pedestrian survey of the western Mesabi Range, documenting the historical footprints of iron ore “beneficiation” plants that produced both “washed ores” and the more familiar taconite, concentrated iron ore pellets, before shipment to the steel mills of the Great Lakes and beyond. The landscape he is investigating has undergone extensive abandonment and scrapping. This project hopes to connect the stories of direct shipping iron ores to taconite by exploring how the development of washable iron ores in the Mesabi Range helped pave the way for the eventual success of the taconite industry.

 



Solomon weighs in on energy costs across the country

Energy Costs NationwideProfessor Barry Solomon was recently interviewed for WalletHub’s article on “2015’s Most & Least Energy-Expensive States” that investigated various criteria that impact monthly energy costs across the nation.  They looked at monthly costs for electricity, natural gas, gasoline, and home heating oil to come up with an “Total Energy Cost” for each state.  These costs range from a low of $223 in the District of Columbia to a high of $410 in Connecticut (Michigan came in at #27 at $304).  Because the total monthly cost is a mixture of the four energy source costs, states’ rankings are not in any immediate pattern because, as the author points out, “lower prices don’t always equate with lower costs, as consumption is a key determinant in the total amount of an energy bill.

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Walton noted for historic testing instrument

The original 17th-century gunpowder testing eprouvette of Joseph Furttenbach
The original 17th-century gunpowder testing eprouvette of Joseph Furttenbach

Asst. Professor Steven Walton (Social Sciences) was noted for his contribution to an ongoing project on the “Origins of Firepower” at the Royal Armouries and National Firearms Centre, Leeds [UK] in the Jan. 17-23, 2015 issue of New Scientist.  In “Do it Again: What can we find out by re-enacting the science of yesteryear” [paywall*] (pp. 31-35), Richard Webb reported on replication work with early gunpowder testing apparatus being undertaken by Haileigh Robertson, a Ph.D. student at the University of York, and one of Walton’s advisees. Robertson is exploring the philosophical and technical knowledge about gunpowder int eh early 17th century for a Ph.D. in the history of science, and Walton, an expert on historic gunpowder, built a replica of Joseph Furttenbach’s eprouvette from 1627 (see image) for her to use in testing. The New Scientist article says of their work:

Today Robertson is aiming to repeat the eprouvette work using a replica device built by historian Steven Walton of Michigan Technological University in Houghton. It has two vertical supports about 60 centimetres high, with a post suspended between them. Attached to the bottom of the post is a brass lid which sits atop a small powder chamber and priming pan. When gunpowder is ignited in the powder chamber, the force of the explosion should propel the brass lid and post up past a series of ratchets that flip up, and then catch the lid as it begins to fall. The height the lid reaches is a measure of the gunpowder’s relative potency. Robertson’s collaborator Peter Smithurst, an emeritus curator of firearms at the National Firearms Centre, first packs the chamber with modern “black powder”. Technician Trevor Weston approaches cautiously with a long lit taper. I stand ready with the video camera. “I wouldn’t want to stand too close,” says Robertson, “until we know what it does.” What it does, besides make an almighty flash and bang, is hard to discern at first. But when the smoke disperses, the lid is balancing 13 ratchets up, half a metre off the floor. So far, so good. Less successful are gunpowder mixtures prepared using old recipes by Smithurst, a trained chemist. There is the odd fizzer like a Roman candle, and quite a few proverbial flashes in the pan. No one is sure why these mixtures don’t work as well – perhaps the modern stuff is finer-grained, with a larger surface area to encourage ignition. Or maybe the samples have got damp somehow. Archaeologists and historians alike want to understand the factors affecting the potency of early gunpowder. The power and range of early guns depended on the energy it could generate, so gunpowder influenced not only the design of cannons and armour, but also the evolution of battlefield tactics. By reproducing these experiments we get a feel for what was possible – and an idea of the frustrations.

Further experimental and simulation work is planned.


* online this is part of a series of “Reliving five eureka moments lost in history”


Schneider receives grants to support his M.S.(I.A.) thesis project

Daniel Schneider at work
Daniel Schneider (MS-IA student) works on a measured drawing of a 19th-century border stamping machine that was used to manufacture wood type for printing decorative borders.

Daniel Schneider, a master’s student in the Industrial Archaeology program has received funding through two grants totaling $2,800 for his master’s thesis project at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, WI.  A grant from The Kohler Foundation, Inc. of Wisconsin supports a series of oral history interviews with workers who produced wood printing type in the type shop of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company. Another grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council supports a public archaeology component of Schneider’s thesis research, which involves the experimental operation of an 19th-century stamping machine that produced wood type for printing decorative borders.  These borders would have been used on posters and other large-scale printed matter such as flyers and handbills. He has made a number of trips to the museum to document and rehabilitate the machine, meet with former employees, and use the museum’s archives.  He also attended a Wayzegooze event there last in November where he interacted with leaders in the current wood type printing community.

Schneider will demonstrate the machine’s operation March 10-14, 2015, at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. The museum is in Two Rivers, WI, 40 miles southeast of Green Bay, and is the largest museum devoted to wood type printing in the country (and perhaps the world).  He is also in charge of the letterpress studio at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock, MI.


Faculty Position in Industrial Archaeology (Asst/Assoc/Full)

The Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University invites applications for a tenured or tenure-track position in Industrial Archaeology (http://www.mtu.edu/social-sciences/graduate/archaeology/).

The successful applicant will demonstrate an established research program in Archaeology, Anthropology, Historic Preservation, History, and/or Heritage Studies to contribute to the department’s graduate program in Industrial Heritage and Archeology. While the rank is open, we invite experienced and/or senior candidates who will add to the breadth of the archaeology program through a program of fieldwork as well as a broad theoretical and substantive interest in topics such as industrial landscapes and communities, the processes of industrialization/deindustrialization, heritage and cultural resource management and interpretation.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities (other duties may be assigned)

  1. Demonstrate an established research program in Archaeology, Anthropology, Historic Preservation, History, and/or Heritage Studies to contribute to the department’s graduate program in Industrial Heritage and Archeology.
  2. Teach graduate and undergraduate courses in their specialty area, as well as one undergraduate course that contributes to the University General Education program; a two-two teaching load is normal.

We desire a candidate who is knowledge in industrial landscapes and communities, the processes of industrialization/deindustrialization, and in heritage and cultural resource management and its interpretation.

Applications will be reviewed starting February 15, 2015. Full consideration will be given to applications received by that date. Interested candidates should complete the online application at http://www.jobs.mtu.edu/postings/2486, and upload required documents including:

  1. A letter of interest
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. A research statement
  4. Names and contact information for three to five references. Letters of reference will be requested for candidates making the short list.

Please direct inquiries to Patrick Martin at pemartin@mtu.edu or (906) 487-2070.

 

Required Education Ph.D. in Archaeology, Anthropology or closely related field
Required Experience University teaching experience, Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on sponsored research, or direct supervisor of research within an institutional setting such as museum or government agency.

 

The Department of Social Sciences is home to North America’s only graduate program focused on Industrial Heritage & Archaeology, offering both MS and PhD degrees. The program began in the early 1990s and has been the institutional and editorial home for the Society for Industrial Archeology since 1995, with faculty service in leadership roles throughout the succeeding years. The core faculty group includes archaeologists, anthropologists, historians of technology, environmental and architectural historians, and an historical geographer, embedded within an interdisciplinary Social Sciences Department that also includes political scientists, sociologists and both world and European historians.

The department offers undergraduate degree programs in anthropology, history, and social science in addition to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology and in Environmental and Energy Policy. We contribute to campus-wide general education and collaborate with research partners across the university. Michigan Tech hosts the largest Peace Corps Master’s International Program (combining Peace Corps service abroad with an MS degree from MTU) and a new Office of Surface Mining VISTA Master’s program which combines one year of domestic field service with a community organization in mining (or former mining) community with an MTU MS degree. Social Sciences faculty members are directly involved in leadership and student supervision of both of these programs.

Michigan Tech, located in Houghton Michigan, is a mid-sized public research university (RU/H) with approximately 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students from across the nation and around the world. These students enroll in 130 degree programs in arts, humanities, and social sciences; business and economics; computing; engineering; forestry and environmental science; natural and physical sciences; and technology. Michigan Tech is ranked in the top tier of national universities according to U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges 2015.” The student-faculty ration is 13:1 and 49% of classes have fewer than 20 students. The university values cross-disciplinary faculty and student contributions to global sustainability.

Michigan Tech is an ADVANCE institution, one of a limited number of universities in receipt of NSF funds in support of our commitment to increase diversity and the participation and advancement of women in STEM.

Michigan Tech acknowledges the importance of supporting dual career partners in attracting and retaining a quality workforce. Michigan Tech is committed to offering career exploration advice and assistance whenever feasible and appropriate at the University and in the local community. See www.dual.mtu.edu for additional information.

Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disability. Applications from women and minorities are highly encouraged by both the department and the institution.

 


Faculty Position: Documentation of Sites and Structures

Assistant or Associate Professor, Tenure-Track

Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University

HAER drawing

The Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University seeks a tenure-track faculty member specializing in Architectural History, Historic Preservation, or Public History to join an interdisciplinary social sciences faculty.

The Department of Social Sciences (http://www.mtu.edu/social-sciences/) offers undergraduate majors in history, anthropology, and social science. The department is also home to two graduate programs (Industrial Heritage & Archaeology and Environmental & Energy Policy), both of which offer MS and PhD degrees. The successful applicant will contribute to the graduate Industrial Archaeology program by teaching the documentation of structures and sites and should be familiar with HABS/HAER standards. Applicants must be able to teach in the undergraduate American history survey and demonstrate an ability to sustain graduate research activities through external funding. Candidates may come from fields such as architectural history, historic preservation, industrial history, history of technology, or American Studies as it relates to the built environment, and should have interests relating to any of the following areas: recording and preserving structures; industrial heritage; cultural resource management; the historic interface between industry and environment; or historic site development, interpretation, and management. This is a tenure-track position at the Assistant/Associate Professor level, beginning August 2015. Ph.D. in History, American Studies or relevant historical field expected at time of appointment.

Michigan Tech is a research university with 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and 120 undergraduate and graduate degrees. The University emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration and international research partnerships, and prepares students to create a more sustainable world. Our goal is to attract world-class faculty to enrich the educational experience of our bright, motivated, and adventurous students. MTU is dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse faculty committed to teaching and working in a multicultural environment and strongly encourages applications from women and minorities. Michigan Tech is located on Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and its community offers year-round recreational and cultural opportunities. Please consult the department webpage for more information: http://www.mtu.edu/social-sciences

Review of the applications will begin on January 15, 2015 and continue until the position is filled. Candidates should complete the online application at https://www.jobs.mtu.edu/postings/2371 and upload the following application materials:

  1. a cover letter
  2. a two-page statement describing teaching experience and research plans, and how you meet the requirements for this position and how you could contribute to an interdisciplinary social sciences department
  3. a curriculum vitae
  4. a recent publication
  5. contact information for three references (no letters of reference, please).

Complete job description is available at http://www.jobs.mtu.edu/postings/2371.

Inquiries may be sent to: Steven A. Walton, sawalton@mtu.edu or 906.487.3272.


Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. Applications from women and minorities are highly encouraged by both the department and the institution. Michigan Tech acknowledges the importance of supporting dual career partners in attracting and retaining a quality workforce. Michigan Tech is committed to offering career exploration advice and assistance whenever feasible and appropriate at the University and in the local community. See www.dual.mtu.edu for additional information. Michigan Tech is an ADVANCE institution, one of a limited number of universities in receipt of NSF funds in support of our commitment to increase diversity and the participation and advancement of women in STEM.

 


Faculty Position: Social Sciences

Assistant Professor, Tenure-Track

Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University

The Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University invites applications for an Assistant Professor to join an interdisciplinary social sciences faculty. We seek a scholar specializing in environmental justice, industrial communities/deindustrialization, health, food systems, or gender. Candidates should be prepared to teach one or more courses that articulate with the undergraduate majors in Anthropology or Social Science. Applicants should also demonstrate how their research and teaching interests strengthen one of our graduate programs (MS and PhD) in either Industrial Heritage and Archaeology or Environmental and Energy Policy. A Ph.D. in Anthropology, Geography, Sociology, or a related interdisciplinary field is required by August 15, 2015.

The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong research record and agenda, as well as high potential for securing external funding. Teaching experience is strongly preferred. The teaching load is two courses per semester.

Michigan Tech is a research university (RU/H) with approximately 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Located minutes from Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Houghton/Hancock community offers year-round recreational and cultural opportunities. This environment, combined with a competitive compensation package, results in an excellent quality of life. Michigan Tech is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. Michigan Tech acknowledges the importance of supporting dual career partners in attracting and retaining a quality workforce. See www.dual.mtu.edu for additional information.

Applications will be reviewed starting Jan 15, 2015. Full consideration will be given to applications received by that date. Interested candidates should complete the online application at http://www.jobs.mtu.edu/postings/2349 and upload required materials including: (1) a letter of interest, (2) Curriculum Vitae, (3) research statement, and (4) names and contact information for three to five references. Letters of reference will be requested for candidates making the short list.

Please direct inquiries to Richelle Winkler at rwinkler@mtu.edu or (906) 487-1886.


Schelly published on “Crafting Collectivity”

9781612057453_p0_v1_s260x420Chelsea Schelly, assistant professor of sociology, has published Crafting Collectivity: American Rainbow Gatherings and Alternative Forms of Community with Paradigm Publishing.  It is now available from the publisher and usual book retail outlets.

From the Publisher:

Every summer, thousands of people assemble to live together to celebrate the Annual Gathering of the Rainbow Family. Participants establish temporary systems of water distribution and filtration, sanitation, health care, and meals provided freely to all who gather, and they develop sharing and trading systems, recreational opportunities, and educational experiences distinct to this creative social world. The Rainbow Family has invented itself as a unique modern culture without formal organization, providing the necessities of life freely to all who attend. The Annual Gathering of the Rainbow Family has been operating for more than forty years as an experiment in liberty that demonstrates how material organization, participation, and cultural connection can reshape social relationships and transform individual lives. Grounded in sociological theory and research, the book considers what kind of culture the material systems of “Babylon” reinforce and how society could facilitate the kind of social world and human welfare humans desire.