Broadly speaking, Industrial Archaeology (IA) is the recording, study,interpretation, and preservation of the physical remains of industrially-related artifacts, sites, and systems within their cultural and historical contexts. These remains may be as old as a seventeenth-century bloomery forge, or as recent as an abandoned mid-twentieth-century steel mill. In practice, IA in the US and UK generally focuses on the period of the industrial revolution and later, though there is a strong connection to the study of earlier technologies, particularly in the area of archaeometallurgy.

Industrial Archaeology emerged as a distinct field of study in the United Kingdom in the 1940s and 50s, when historians, preservationists, archaeologists, and engineers became concerned that many of the key relics of Britain's industrial heritage were disappearing. By the 1960s and 70s, the IA movement had spread across the Atlantic to the United States, as well as continental Europe, spawning several journals, and a number of professional associations, including the Society for Industrial Archeology, based here at Michigan Technological University.

For more information about the specific programs, click on the appropriate link below

Masters PhD


The faculty is one of the key strengths of Michigan Tech's IA program. The Department of Social Sciences encompasses many disciplines, bringing together scholars with diverse perspectives on industrial archaeology. To date the program has never had more than a dozen graduate students at one time, allowing for close interaction between faculty and students. In addition to small classes, students can expect easy access to their advisor, and many opportunities to become engaged in research projects with the faculty.

For a complete listing of current faculty, please visit the Faculty listing page.

Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI 49931
Email | Phone: (906) 487-2113 | Fax: (906) 487-2468