The excavation of industrial era settlements in north-west England

Eleanor Conlin Casella

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In his classic study, The Making of the English Working-Class, the Marxist historian E.P. Thompson noted, 'The rich lose sight of the poor, or only recognise them when attention is forced to their existence by their appearance as vagrants, mendicants, or delinquents' (Thompson 1966, 322). The primary international significance of Historic-Period Archaeology lies in its ability to subvert such negative depictions by challenging the dominant historical transcripts that serve to reinforce the brutal inequalities of our modern era. Building upon such an explicitly social perspective, the Alderley Sandhills Project was designed to illuminate the transformative roles of industrialisation and de-industrialisation on working-class rural England. By focusing on a domestic site, we sought to examine how the men, women and children of ordinary rural working households struggled to maintain and improve their conditions of everyday life in the face of the rapid socio-economic revolutions of the late 17 th to mid-20 th centuries. Drawing from preliminary results, this paper will explore the nature and operation of class mobility within the social world of Alderley Edge, Cheshire. © The Association for Industrial Archaeology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Archaeology Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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