Day 13: the Lattimer Massacre

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Today was a very complex day at the site. We kept two team members back at our house to clean and bag our increasingly enormous collection of artifacts. Each of our units have reached soil levels where it is difficult to distinguish between modern fill soils displaced around the site and historic deposits. In some cases, we will not know what is what until the end of each unit, or perhaps after the artifacts are brought back to the lab and analyzed. The end of each unit excavation brings a round of profile documentation, or the careful drawing of soil colors and textures visible along the vertical edges of the holes we dig.

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For our reading assignment last night we read about the Lattimer Massacre in an article by Harold Aurand entitled, “Who owns history?”. Aurand talks about the complex debates surrounding the many descendent communities tied to the massacre and its history. Aurand asks, but does not answer, we concluded, a question we often ponder as we explore this history with so many important implications and meanings in our present. (if you haven’t already, see our blog on research connected to the massacre here).

After fieldwork we got a tour of the Massacre monument in Lattimer from Mr. John Probert of Hazleton (pictured above). Mr. Probert described the event in detail, setting up the context surrounding the tensions of the historical moment and the atrocities of those five minutes in September of 1897. To follow up our long day we visited the graves of 14 martyrs from the massacre buried in St. Stanislaus cemetary (below).

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About LM Project

The LMP is a collaborative endeavor which aims to recognize the events surrounding the Lattimer Massacre, an incident that changed the labor movement and impacted the world by bringing to light economic disparities and ethnic tensions in the anthracite region of PA.
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2 Responses to Day 13: the Lattimer Massacre

  1. Jonathan says:

    I really enjoy following this blog. As an archaeologist in PA, I’m interested in the archaeology of coal towns and I find your project to be very fascinating. I also have some family history associated with coal camps in Western PA (my great grandfather and grandfather were brought into break strikes……). Anyways, I’ve been reading King Coal by Upton Sinclare. It’s obviously a little bias, but Sinclare does a good job depicting life in a company town and the material culture of coal camps. Might add some context to your project. Keep up the good work!

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