Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor 1

Timothy Scarlett

Committee Member 1

Carol MacLennan

Committee Member 2

Susan Martin

Committee Member 3

Timothy Tumberg


The Cuyuna Range is a former North American iron mining district about 90 miles(145 kilometers) west of Duluth in central Minnesota. The district was the furthest south and west of the three Minnesota iron ranges (Vermilion, Mesabi, and Cuyuna). In 2011, Students and staff from Michigan Technological University's Department of Social Sciences were asked to identify and promote features of the Cuyuna Range's mining heritage. Methods and approaches of mulitsited archaeology were used to unify the diverse places and themes into a more cohesive narrative. Their investigations focused on sites of technological innovation, social conflict, and important people. One collaborative project involved training a team of local volunteers to survey seven iron mining communities to identify sites with historic importance. In total, 876 sites were documented. The data generated from this effort can be used to develop plans for cultural tourism focused on the iron mining heritage of the Cuyuna Iron Range. It was found that using multiple themes from multisited archaeology strengthened the region’s narrative better than simply focusing on sites from a single thematic viewpoint.

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