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Last Gap: The Construction, Operation, and Dissolution of the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company’s “New Furnace”


David P. Staley


Isolation and historical circumstances have largely preserved the “New Furnace” at the Adirondack Iron & Steel Company’s Upper Works. An historical account suggested that the operational process at the facility would be clearly represented by an array of tools and debris. Daily activities at a blast furnace tend to obliterate much of the archaeologically observable behavioral evidence, and decades of visitors and vandalism have removed any tools abandoned after the last casting. Through the interpretation of sediments, stratigraphy, features, and under-utilized material culture, such as building materials, smelting raw materials, and slag, it is possible to reveal aspects of construction, operations, collapse, and decay at the site. Taken further, some of the findings may reflect corporate paternalism, as well as the owners’ wildly fluctuating fiscal attitudes toward New Furnace construction and operations.

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