Industrial Archaeology

The Department of Social Sciences offers two related graduate degrees: 

Both degrees investigate the remains of industry in the modern world and work to train students for work investigating, conserving, and  interpreting those sites, and helping understand the role of industry within our collective heritage.

Remember: "Heritage: it's not just history, it's your history."™

Graduate Facilities

Michigan Tech’s newly remodeled, 9,600 sq. ft. Industrial Archaeology Annex and Research Laboratory supports the documentation, analysis, conservation, and cataloging of artifacts and data recovered during fieldwork. Lab equipment includes a full array of photographic, drafting, and digital visualization gear, as well as equipment supporting experimental archaeology and the conservation of industrial heritage artifacts.

The facility also provides computers, office space, printing/copying, and WiFi for all IA graduate students, including access to a computer graphics facility with a mix of Macintosh and PC computers, a large format color scanner, slide scanner, digitizing tablets, laser printing, and a plotter. The lab supports several different programs for computer assisted drafting (CAD) and ArcView for GIS analysis. The IA Research Laboratory’s Curatorial Area stores industrial heritage collections for several agencies, providing additional research opportunities.

Graduate Student Society

Our department has a vibrant graduate society, the SSGSS.  Begun in 2012, the society organizes graduate student events, outings, internal seminars and paper presentations, and professional development opportunities.  For more information, see their web page.

About the Area

Houghton and Michigan’s famous Copper County and Keweenaw Peninsula are ideal locations to study industrial heritage. Faculty and students rely upon the superb holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections in the University’s J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library.  The industrial archaeology graduate programs also maintain close ties with the Michigan Historical Center, Keweenaw National Historical Park and Isle Royale National Park, as well as both the Hiawatha and Ottawa National Forests and several state parks, wilderness areas, and heritage sites. Faculty and students work within several academic organizations.  Of particular note, Michigan Tech provides leadership and programmatic support for the Society for Industrial Archeology (SIA) and The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH).

Readings in Industrial Archaeology

Read what our faculty and other scholars in the field have written about industrial archaeology, in general, and our graduate programs, in particular.

From the Director

Carol A. MacLennan

Carol A. MacLennan

PhD, Anthropology

Academic Office Building 209A

Thank you for considering our MS and PhD programs in Industrial Heritage Archaeology. Industrial archaeology is a diverse, multidisciplinary field practiced around the world. Industrial archaeologists record, interpret, and preserve industrial and engineering-related artifacts, sites, systems, and landscapes in their cultural and historical contexts. Heritage specialists consider the broader social, economic, and environmental legacies of industrial society. Michigan Tech students have studied sites and communities worldwide, including 17th-century iron forges, 19th-century coal and copper mines,

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