An archaeological survey of brick manufacture in Saskatchewan
Buhr, Larry E.
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The province of Saskatchewan's industrial development in its rural prairie region has traditionally been focused on its agricultural capacities which continue to the present day. However, one industry paralleled agriculture in the rural region from the earliest days of agricultural settlement through to the 1990s. This industry was that of brickmaking, which made use of the rich clay deposits that were in association with the rich soils. In its expansion from the first small brickyards to eventual large brickplants, the Saskatchewan brick industry was an integral part of the province's development, advancing and declining in relation to local factors such as settlement and subsequent construction, and more remote factors such as technological innovations and national and international markets. With the last brickplant having closed in 1996, the active life of this industry has now ceased, but its legacy remains in locations such as Claybank, preserved and dedicated as a National Historic Site in 1997. However, over sixty brickmaking facilities operated in the province, and the study of these as a whole is an important step towards a complete understanding of the industry and its contributions. This research attempts to categorize and link these facilities together, using historical and archaeological methodologies. Relations of the province's industry to those adjacent to it are included in this discussion, so that in addition to an understanding of the provincial industry, a study of the larger industry both in Canada and North America can be advanced.