Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Michigan Tech Alumni Event!

A Day in the Field with MTU’s Industrial Archaeologists!

The Department of Social Sciences is pleased to invite Michigan Tech alumni and friends to visit our archaeology dig in Parowan, Utah. On June 20th, please come to see the important discoveries, including the well-preserved remains of one of the first non-Native pottery shops in the southern expanse of the Utah Territory.  Alumni and friends could put these events at the center of a weekend trip through Utah's beautiful and historic Color and Canyon Country!

MTU faculty, students, and volunteers are excavating the site of the pottery shop established by Thomas and Sarah Davenport in 1852. These English factory workers spent nearly a decade struggling to solve technical problems, then operated their shop successfully over forty years. MTU excavation teams have unearthed several extraordinary features, including well-preserved building foundations, heaps of kiln failures, and the first English-style updraft kiln ever excavated west of the Mississippi river.

After touring the site and talking with project team members in Parowan, the group will meet at the Iron Mission State Park Museum in nearby Cedar City, Utah. At the museum, Dr. Scarlett will take the group through the exhibit, Potters of the Gathering: Clay Work in Early Utah. The exhibit includes more than 200 objects, both antique and archaeological, along with DVD video and audio programs that illustrate the successes and failures of the immigrant clay workers.

Following the pottery exhibit, the tour will consider the history of iron mining and smelting in Southern Utah. MTU industrial archaeologists and Utah State Parks staff will preview the museum’s new exhibits about residents’ efforts to make iron in the 1850s, including a full-scale replica of the blast furnace. Then the group will head west of Cedar City to Old Iron Town State Park, an industrial ruin where workers smelted iron in the 1860s. The furnace, casting house, charcoal ovens, and other industrial ruins are potential sites for archaeological fieldwork during the summer of 2010 (pictures here).

Schedule and Rendezvous:
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Open visits to excavations at the pottery site and local museum in Parowan, Utah.
Site location: 75 West 100 South, Parowan, Utah, 84761

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Guided tour of Potters of the Gathering at the Iron Mission State Park Museum in Cedar City, Utah.
Museum location: 585 North Main St., Cedar City, Utah 84720

2:30 PM: Overview of iron industry history, view of exhibits, caravan departs.

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM: Visit to Old Iron Town State Park.
From Cedar City head west on Hwy U-56 for approximately 20 miles. Turn south onto Old Iron Town Rd. Travel this gravel road for approximately five miles to the ruins located on the left hand side

Michigan Technological University Alumni and Friends can register here.

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