Lessons from the Bakken Oil Patch

Last month, my colleagues and I wrote a short paper for a Journal of Contemporary Archaeology forum on the archaeologies of forced and undocumented migration. Our paper focused on our work on the North Dakota Man Camp Project.

Here’s the abstract

This article summarizes the recent work of the North Dakota Man Camp Project to understand the largely undocumented migrants arriving in the Bakken Oil Patch for work. It argues that efforts to document short-term labor in the Bakken exposes particular challenges facing the archaeology of the modern world ranging from the ephemerality of short-term settlements to the hyper-abundance of modern objects. The use of photography, video, interviews, and descriptions produced an abundant archive of archaeological ephemeral that in some ways parallels the modern character of temporary workforce housing.  The final section of the article offers some perspectives on how work in the Bakken oil patch can inform policy, our understanding of material culture in the modern world, and the role of the discipline in forming a shared narrative.

 

And here’s the paper:

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