I decided to venture back to the Society of American Archaeology annual meeting this spring after nearly a decade away. It seems like there has been more for Mediterranean Archaeologists in recent years, and I want to pitch the North Dakota Man Camp Project to a slightly more diverse audience.
Here’s the abstract:
The North Dakota Man Camp Project: The Archaeology of Workforce Housing in the Bakken Oil Patch of North Dakota
Since 2007 the western part of North Dakota has experienced an economic and population boom associated with the extraction of shale oil from the massive Bakken formation. While this area had experienced both agricultural and oil booms in the past, nothing in the region’s history had prepared the communities and infrastructure for the transformation brought about by hydraulic fracking. The North Dakota Man Camp Project documents the material and social conditions of workforce housing in the Bakken. From corporate installations that resemble mobile hotels to RV parks, infilled small towns, and squatting off the grid, workforce housing has presents the material signatures of community building throughout the oil patch. The rapid expansion of short-term housing and populations in the Bakken has outstripped historical and document-based methods for describing this change. This paper presents a preliminary report on how the archaeology of the contemporary past has provided an alternate method for understanding the assemblages, architecture, and settlement patterns of associated with workforce housing in the Bakken boom.