Navigating the Liminal: An Archaeological Perspective on South African Industrialisation

  • Joanna Behrens
Part of the Contributions to Global Historical Archaeology book series (CGHA)

Abstract

A Sunday morning in March, 1886 ... “The tangled threads of destiny were being detached from the spinning wheel ...” (Crisp 1974 in Ricci 1986: 24) as two gold prospectors, walking the land of the widow Oosthuizen’s farm, Langlaagte, stumbled upon an outcrop of the Main Reef Conglomerate, a banket of gold bearing ore, arcing , virtually uninterrupted, from present-day Randfontein in the west to Springs in the east (Figure 1). The world’ s greatest gold rush had been set in motion. With in months, the first settlement at Ferreira’s Camp had burst across the highveld as thousands streamed towards this newest source of wealth. As canvas tents and reed huts gave way to corrugated iron shacks and bricked structures, Johannesburg burgeoned from a tented camp of 3000 “adventurers” in 1887 to a town of over 100 000 inhabitants by 1896 (van Onselen 1982: 163; Beittel 1992: 197). While uitlanders or immigrants chased wealth and expanded opportunity, white and black farmers across the highveld faced new, often unpredictable choices. An industrial revolution had come: rural , predominantly subsistence, economies were besieged by new forms of capital as thousands were drawn or pushed into the “twilight world of labour migrancy , peri-urban space and industry” (van Onselen 1996: vii).

Keywords

Explosive Turkey Sponge Excavation Trench 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allen, D.F. n.d. History of Modderfontein 1896 - 1953. Unpublished manuscript, The Dynamite Company Museum Archives.Google Scholar
  2. Beaudry, M. and S.A Mrozowski 1988. The archaeology of work and home life in Lowell, Massachusetts. An interdisciplinary study of the Boott Cotton Mills Corporation. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archaeology 14(2): 1–22.Google Scholar
  3. Beaudry, M., L.J. Cook, and S.A. Mrozowski 1991. Artifacts and active voices: material culture as social discourse. In R.H. McGuire and R. Paynter (eds) The Archaeology of Inequality: 150–191. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  4. Behrens, J. 1999. Ethnic Identity and Process: European Migrant Workers at Modderfontein Dynamite Factory. Unpublished MA Dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.Google Scholar
  5. Behrens, J. in prep. The Dynamite Factory. An industrial landscape in late nineteenth century South Africa. Historical Archaeology. Google Scholar
  6. Beittel, M. 1992. The Witwatersrand: Black households, White households. In J. Smith and I. Wallerstein (eds) Creating and Transforming Households. The constraints of the world-economy: 197–230. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boonzaier, E. and J. Sharp 1988. South African Keywords. The uses and abuses of political concepts. Cape Town: David Philip.Google Scholar
  8. Brain, C.K. 1974. Some suggested procedures in the analysis of bone accumulations from southern African Quaternary sites. Annals of the Transvaal Museum 29(1): 1–8.Google Scholar
  9. Branstner, M.C. and T.J. Martin 1987. Working-Class Detroit. Late Victorian consumer choices and status. In S.M. Spencer-Wood (ed) Consumer Choice in Historical Archaeology: 301–320. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bowen, J. 1992. Faunal remains and urban household subsistence in New England. In A.E. Yentsch and M.C. Beaudry (ed) The Art and Mystery of Historical Archaeology. Essays in honour of James Deetz: 267–281. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bozzoli, B. (ed) 1983. Town and Countryside in the Transvaal. Capitalist penetration and popular response. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.Google Scholar
  12. Burnett, J. 1978. A Social History of Housing 1815–1917. Newton Abbott: David & Charles.Google Scholar
  13. Callinicos, L. 1987. Working Life 1886–1940. Factories, townships and popular culture on the Rand. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.Google Scholar
  14. Cartwright, A.P. 1964. The Dynamite Company. Johannesburg: Hortors Press.Google Scholar
  15. Cooper, F. 1994. Conflict and connection: rethinking colonial African History. American Historical Review December: 1516–1545.Google Scholar
  16. Cross, G. 1993. Time and Money. The making of consumer culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Cusik, J.G. 1995. The importance of the community study approach in Historical Archaeology with an example from Late Colonial St Augustine. Historical Archaeology 29(4): 59–83.Google Scholar
  18. Dagut, S. 1996. Domestic racial interaction in later nineteenth century South Africa. Institute for Advanced Social Research, University of the Witwatersrand, seminar paper No. 391: 1–29.Google Scholar
  19. Davidson, P.E. 1982. Patterns in urban foodways. An example from early twentieth century Atlanta. In R.S. Dickens (ed) Archaeology of Urban America. The search for pattern and process: 381–398. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  20. Day, G.L. 1996. Finding Ethnicity in the Material Record. Unpublished paper presented at the Society for Historical Archaeology meeting, Cincinnati, United States of America.Google Scholar
  21. De Cunzo, L. 1987. Adapting to factory and city. Illustrations from the industrialisation and urbanisation of Paterson, New Jersey. In S.M. Spencer-Wood (ed) Consumer Choice in Historical Archaeology: 261–295. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  22. Deetz, J. 1977. In Small Things Forgotten. The archaeology of Early American life. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  23. du Bruyn, J. 1997. Early Transvaal - a historiography perspective. South African Historical Journal 36: 136–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Emerson, M.C. 1987. The Archaeology of a California Mining Town, Somersville, California. Unpublished paper.Google Scholar
  25. Fredricks, J. n.d. Reminiscences of an Old Timer. Unpublished manuscript in the possession of the Dynamite Company Museum Archives.Google Scholar
  26. Friedman, J. (ed) 1994. Consumption and Identity. Switzerland: Harwood Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  27. Hall, M. 1992. Small things and the mobile, conflictual fusion of powjer, fear and desire. In A. Yentsch and M. Beaudry (ed) The Art and Mystery of Historical Archaeology. Essays in honour of James Deetz: 373–400. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  28. Hall, M. 1993. The archaeology of colonial settlement in Southern Africa. Annual Review of Anthropology 22: 177–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hall, S. 1997a. A Phase I Archaeological Assessment of Modderfontein. Unpublished report prepared for AECI Operations Services.Google Scholar
  30. Hall, S. 1997b. Material culture and gender correlations. The view from Mabotse in the late nineteenth century. In L. Wadley (ed) Our Gendered Past. Archaeological studies of gender in Southern Africa: 209–219. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Hedges, A. A.C. 1992. Bottles and Bottle Collecting. Buckinghamshire: Shire Publications.Google Scholar
  32. Huelsbeck, D. 1989. Zooarchaeological measures revisited. Historical Archaeology 23(1): 113–117.Google Scholar
  33. Huelsbeck, D. 1991. Faunal remains and consumer behavior: what is being measured? Historical Archaeology 25(2): 62–76.Google Scholar
  34. Humphrey, C. 1995. Creating a culture of disillusionment. Consumption in Moscow, a chronicle of changing times. In D. Miller (ed) Worlds Apart. Modernity through the prism of the local: 3–68. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Howes, D. 1996. Commodities and cultural borders. In D. Howes (ed) Cross-cultural consumption. Global markets. Local realities: 1–16. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Johnson, M.H. 1996. An Archaeology of Capitalism. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  37. Jones, S. 1997. The Archaeology of Ethnicity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Kallaway, P. and P. Pearson 1986. Johannesburg: Images and Continuities. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.Google Scholar
  39. Keegan, T. 1983. The sharecropping economy. African class formation and the 1913 Land Act in the High veld maize belt. In B. Bozzoli (ed) Town and Countryside in the Transvaal. Capitalist penetration and popular response: 108–127. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.Google Scholar
  40. Keegan, T. 1986. Rural Transformations in Industrialising South Africa. The southern Highveldto 1914. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.Google Scholar
  41. Landon, D. 1996. Feeding Colonial Boston: a zooarchaeological study. Historical Archaeology 30(1): 1–153.Google Scholar
  42. LeeDecker, C.H., T.H. Klein, C.A. Holt, and A. Friedlander 1987. Nineteenth century households and consumer behaviour in Wilmington, Delaware. In S.M. Spencer-Wood (ed) Consumer Choice in Historical Archaeology: 233–259. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  43. Lyman, R.L. 1987. On zooarchaeological measures of socioeconomic position and cost-efficient meat purchases. Historical Archaeology 21(1): 58–66.Google Scholar
  44. Majewski, T and M.J. O’Brien 1987. The use and misuse of nineteenth century English and American ceramics in archaeological analysis. Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory Volume II: 97–209.Google Scholar
  45. Marks, S. and R. Rathbone (eds) 1982. Industrialisation and Social Change in South Africa. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  46. Matsetela, T. 1982. The life story of Nkgono Mma-Pooe: Aspects of sharecropping and proletarianisation in the northern Orange Free State, 1890–1930. In S. Marks and R. Rathbone (eds) Industrialisation and Social Change in South Africa: 212–237. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  47. McKee, L.W. 1987. Delineating ethnicity from the garbage of Early Virginians: faunal remains from the Kingsmill Plantation slave quarter. American Archaeology 6( 1): 31–39.Google Scholar
  48. Miller, D. 1987. Material Culture and Mass Consumption. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  49. Miller, D. (ed) 1995. Acknowledging Consumption. A review of new studies. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  50. Miller, G.L. and C. Sullivan 1991. Machine-made glass containers and the end of production for mouth-blown bottles. In G.L. Miller, O.R. Jones, L.A. Ross, and T. Majewski (eds) Approaches to Material Culture Research for Historical Archaeologists: 99–112. USA: Society for Historical Archaeology.Google Scholar
  51. Nkadimeng, M. and G. Relly 1983. Kas Maine: The story of a black South African agriculturalist. In B. Bozzoli (ed) Town and Countryside in the Transvaal. Capitalist penetration and popular response: 89–107. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.Google Scholar
  52. Praetzellis, A. and M. Praetzellis 1992. Faces and facades: Victorian ideology in early Sacramento. In A.E. Yentsch and M. Beaudry (eds) The Art and Mystery of Historical Archaeology. Essays in honour of James Deetz: 75–99. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  53. Praetzellis, M., A. Praetzellis, and M.R. Brown III 1988. What happened to the silent majority? Research strategies for studying dominant group material culture in late nineteenth century California. In M. Beaudry (ed) Documentary Archaeology in the New World: 192–202. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Preghill, P. and N. Volkman 1993. Landscapes in History. Design and planning in the Western Tradition. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.Google Scholar
  55. Ranger, T. 1983. The invention of tradition in colonial Africa. In E. Hobsbawm and T. Ranger (eds) The Invention of Tradition: 211–262. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Ricci, D. 1986. Reef of Time. Johannesburg in writing. Johannesburg: Credo Press.Google Scholar
  57. Schoeman, M.H. 1997. The Ndzundza Archaeology of the Steelpoort River Valley. Unpublished MA dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand.Google Scholar
  58. Schulz, P. and S.M. Gust 1983. Faunal remains and social status in nineteenth century Sacramento. Historical Archaeology 17(1): 44–53.Google Scholar
  59. Shackel, P. 1996. Culture Change and the New Technology. An archaeology of the early American industrial era. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  60. Shields, R. 1991. Places on the Margin. Alternative geographies of modernity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  61. Stewart-Abernathy, L.C. 1992. Industrial goods in the service of tradition: consumption and cognition on an Ozark farmstead before the Great War. In A.E. Yentsch and M.C. Beaudry (ed) The Art and Mystery of Historical Archaeology. Essays in honour of James Deetz: 101–126. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  62. Trinder, B. 1982. The Making of the Industrial Landscape. London: J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd.Google Scholar
  63. van Onselen, C. 1982. Studies in the Social and Economic History of the Witwatersrand 1886–1914. Volume I New Babylon; Volume 2 New Nineveh. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.Google Scholar
  64. van Onselen, C. 1996. The Seed is Mine. The life ofKas Maine. A South African sharecropper 1894–1985. Cape Town: David Philip.Google Scholar
  65. Zukin, S. 1991. Landscapes of Power. From Detroit to Disney World. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanna Behrens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of the WitwatersrandSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations