Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Kelly Dixon

Commitee Members

Gregory Campbell, Janet Finn


Archaeology, Children, Childhood, Mining


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Ethnic Studies | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


Children made up roughly one-quarter of the population of industrial boomtowns in the

North American West, underscoring the connections of family to places commonly

thought to be bachelor communities. By comparing artifacts and historical contexts from

three mining communities (Butte, Montana; Deadwood, South Dakota; and Sandpoint,

Idaho) established in the late 19th century, this thesis will contribute to archaeologies of

children, childhood, and socialization, examining material remains as a line of evidence

to study the ways in which relationships, gender, race, and class pervaded the lives of

children in these industrial settings. The methods employed here integrate information

from historical and archaeological sources and are intended to provide a systematic

means of identifying archaeological traces of children by culling an entire artifact

assemblage instead of just examining objects traditionally catalogued as “children’s”

artifacts to ensure that analyses are grounded on as unbiased a foundation as possible.

The strategy requires an artifact collection to be reorganized so that artifacts can be coded

as child-related, “could be” child-related, or placed into a default category. Ideally, this

will contribute to the late 20th and early 21st-century call for an anthropology of children

and childhood will help archaeologists make the distinction between material culture of

children and childhood, and will be used as part of a framework to understand the cultural

heritage of transnational mining communities in the American West.



© Copyright 2015 Nicole A. Lane