Thumbnail Image

Publication or External Link





The University of Maryland Anthracite Heritage Program summer archaeological field methods course (ANTH496) was taught in Lattimer, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (previously Lattimer Village No.1). From May 29th to July 6th of 2012, the previously undocumented Canal Street site (36LU312) was investigated. The following report outlines the Phase I and II archaeological investigations at the Canal Street Site. All archaeological review, curation, and writing were completed in accordance with The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commissions Guidelines for Archaeological Investigations in Pennsylvania as amended.

Site 36LU312 consisted of coal company-constructed houses. From as early as 1878, up to nine structures of varying sizes and shapes lined the Canal Street road, and over the course of the following seven decades, the structures in this area changed size and shape as additional outbuildings, we added and subtracted to meet the needs of their occupants. The Canal Street section of Lattimer No.1 consisted of an ethnic enclave of primary Slavic and Italian immigrants; this ethnic diversity in the northeast area of town provides a unique perspective in an otherwise ethnically segregated company town.

The objective of this work was to assess the integrity of archaeological deposits at the sites to aid in research themes related to the lives of 19th- and 20th-century immigrants and an examination of ethnic enclaves in patch-towns. These research themes include land usage, access to commodities, household demographics, and structural violence.

The field school investigations included historical research and excavation of shovel test pits and test units of varying sizes. In total, 32 shovel test pits (STPs) and 13 test units were excavated. The site yielded 9,992 artifacts, 6% of which were ceramics, 35% of which were glass, and 49% of which were metal. A minimum of 76 ceramic and glass vessels were identified.

Analysis of the Canal Street artifact assemblage is guided by research themes to provide a coherent framework of understanding the occupation and lifestyle of household residents. The research themes include: (1) a spatial analysis of land usage, (2) an analysis of residents' access to commodities and the effects of such access, (3) an analysis of household and neighborhood demographics, (4) and a discussion about structural violence.

The large portion of the material culture recovered from these investigations consisted of modern materials or non-diagnostic materials. The diagnostic materials recovered from the Canal Street assemblage provide a framework that can be used as a model in the analysis of ethnical diverse company towns.