Few sources before have dealt with the archaeology of African American settlements outside the Atlantic seaboard and the southern states. This book describes in detail the archaeological investigations conducted at the town site of Buxton, Iowa, a coal mining community inhabited by a significantly large population of blacks between 1900 and 1925.

David Gradwohl and Nancy Osborn present the archaeology of Buxton from “the group up” to articulate the material remains with the data acquired from archival studies and oral history interviews. They also examine the broader significance of the Buxton experience in terms of those who lived there and their children and grandchildren who have heard about Buxton all their lives.





1. Introduction

2. Scope and Schedule of Archaeological Investigations:

Initial Visit to the Buxton Townsite

Preliminary Field Investigation

Preliminary Laboratory Analysis, 1980-1981

Planning the Internship Program

The 1981 Field Season

Continuing Laboratory Work, 1981-1982


3. Buxton’s Setting: Geography, Economic Geology, and Town Planning


4. Archaeological Reconnaissance Survey of the Townsite

Reconnaissance Unit B

Reconnaissance Unit KC

Reconnaissance Unit J

Reconnaissance Unit C

Carlson Property

Reconnaissance Unit KP

Buxton Cemetery

Harris Property


5. Test Excavations and Investigation of Former Buildings

Excavation Methods and Procedures

The Stone Warehouse (Structure 1)

The Company Store (Structure 2)

The Company Office (Structure 3)

The Main YMCA (Structure 4)

The Boys’ YMCA (Structure 5)

Evidence for the Street Fronting the YMCA

The White House Hotel (Structure 6)

A Residence and Outbuildings (The Structure 7-10 Complex)

Residential Building (Structure 11)

Surface Indications of Unidentified Buildings (Structures 12-16)

The Power Plant (Structure 17)

Possible Remains of Armstrong’s Meat Market (Structure 18)

Possible Ruins of the Telegraph Office (Structure 19)

Concrete Viaduct and Steel Culvert (Structures 20 and 21)

The Mine Superintendent’s House (Structures 22-24)

The Superintendent’s Outbuildings (Structural Complex 25)

The Sewer Pipe (Structure 26)

Excavationns at the South End of Site Survey Unit KP-3


6. Portable Artifacts from the Townsite

Ceramic Artifacts

Glass Artifacts

Metal Artifacts

Celluloid Artifacts

Rubber Artifacts

Shell Artifacts

Bone Artifacts

Leather and Hair Artifacts

Textile Artifacts

Paper Artifacts

Stone Artifacts

Artifacts of Miscellaneous Media

Artifacts of Composite Materials

Plant Remains

Animal Remains


7. Social and Cultural Patterns from an Archaeological Perspective

Making It: The Business, Commercial, and Occupational Enterprise

Home, Home by the Range: The Distaff and Domestic Domains

Getting Around: Transportation, Utilities, and Facilities

Having Fun: Recreation and Relaxation

Praying and Passing: Religious and Mortuary Patterns


8. Buxton in Retrospect and Prospect

Archaeological Extent and Quality of the Townsite

Buxton’s Relationship to National Trade Networks

Regional and National Significance of Buxton

Buxton’s Settlement Pattern

Ethnicity in Buxton

What about Buxton as Utopia?


References Cited



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Publication Details

Publication Date
208 pages
Trim size
6 x 9 inches