Science for Historic Industries

Guidelines for the investigation of 17th- to 19th-century industries

This guidance is intended to aid archaeologists working on sites of historic industries. For the purpose of this guidance ‘industries’ are non-domestic manufacturing activities (but not the production of foodstuffs) and ‘historic’ covers the period from the early 17th century to the late 19th century. The advice demonstrates the additional information that can be obtained by applying scientific techniques. Some of the issues explored are particularly relevant to urban sites, but the principles have wider application. Despite the crucial contribution that scientific techniques can make to archaeology, their application to the post-medieval and later periods has been rare (Crossley 1998). This guidance describes some of the techniques that are commonly used and include examples of the ways in which they have been, or could be, applied to the archaeological remains of historic industries.

This is one of four Historic England publications concerning materials science and industrial processes:


  • Summary
  • Introduction
  • Fieldwork and sampling
  • Scientific analysis
  • Historic archives
  • Case studies
  • Where to get advice
  • References

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 57
  • Product Code: HEAG258


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