I recently finished reading Traces of the Past by David Weitzman. If you have been following my blog, you saw that I have posted reviews about the chapters of this book over the past few months.
This book is a tremendous resource; a collection of tips and tricks for identifying hardware in the wilderness. It covers railroad markers, bridges, blast furnaces and oil derricks in great detail.
I also appreciated the last chapter, which discussed taking children into the outdoors to draw pictures of bridges. This lets their natural curiosity drive questions about differences in bridges and how bridges are made.
Thank you for reading my very brief book review.
Weitzman, David. Traces of the Past. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, USA, 1980.
I just started reading “Traces of the Past: A Field Guide to Industrial Archaeology By David Weitzman. I am borrowing it from a friend, and it is the 1980 printing. So far, I’ve read chapters 1 and 2.
Chapter 1 focused on railroads and discussed some of the “standards” associated with the rails. As it turns out, there are quite a few different standard sizes, as well as several different rail constructions. This chapter is presented as methods of determining the age of an abandoned railroad, based on clues about ties, plates, and rail dimensions, and thus contains quite a bit of reference material on these topics. I also enjoyed the perspective of this chapter- placing yourself in the time and place of these railroads and determining what was “normal” at this time. There is one story that tells of the number of changes freight would experience as it travels south across several different “standard” rail lines.
Chapter 2 focused on using maps as archeaological tools. While much of what was discussed in this chapter can be done online today, it gives the reader the appreciation for how this type of study was conducted in the past. Archaeological tools as archaeology itself!
I will post more about this book as I read.
Thank you for reading my post.