Historical archaeology at an industrial town site : Lille, Alberta
The beginning of the twentieth century saw a boom economy for the coal and coke industry. Located in the Crowsnest Pass of Alberta, the coal mining town of Lille existed for about a decade in the early twentieth century, from approximately 1901-1912. Towns such as this are ephemeral in nature, and as such, offer interesting opportunities to investigate a very definite period in time. Lille can provide a unique snapshot of life in the Canadian Rockies at the beginning of the last century. Two archaeological investigations were carried out upon this ‘time slice’ in 1979 and early 1981. Further analysis of artifactual material was undertaken in order to reconstruct life in a company town. The present study combines the two archaeological assemblages for study. It focuses upon material remains found at the town site, as well as spatial relationships between different residences and parts of the business district. Lille is discussed using a framework of corporate paternalism as it was a company town and it is hypothesized that there are stratified residential areas based upon occupational status. The degree to which inhabitants followed this ascribed status is investigated through their material remains. Additional factors affecting the town and its residents, such as company policy, union strikes and the coal market will be discussed. This examination of Lille provides an opportunity to explore daily life in remote mining communities in the early 20th century.
West Canadian Collieries, Marxst archaeology, spatial syntax
Master of Arts (M.A.)