Transactions of the Japan Academy
Online ISSN : 2424-1903
Print ISSN : 0388-0036
ISSN-L : 0388-0036
Volume 41 , Issue 3
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  • Yoshitaka KOMATSU
    1986 Volume 41 Issue 3 Pages 131-185
    Published: 1986
    Released: June 22, 2007
    A new interdisciplinary field of study came into being in Britain in the mid-1950s under the rather clumsy name of‘industrial archaeology, ’ after a gestation period of nearly a century. A small number of energetic men, most of them with a fair knowledge of either technology or architecture, assisted in its birth, urging the crying need of investigating, recording, and, if possible, preserving the remains of industrial sites which were in imminent danger of deterioration, if not demolition. Although academic circles in general regarded it with indifference, amateurs, partly out of patriotism and partly out of curiosity, were not hesitant in responding to the appeal made by the pioneers, either individually or as members of local groups, by devoting their leisure time to voluntary research in field evidences left by industrial activities during the Industrial Revolution.
    Industrial archaeology grew rapidly in Britain, bringing about in the 1960s the publication of a national periodical, not to speak of many books and pamphlets on the subject, as well as the establishment of a national system of surveying and recording industrial monuments and the holding of annual meetings of professional industrial archaeologists on a national scale. It was in 1973 that the Association for Industrial Archaeology was founded in Britain“to promote the study of Industrial Archaeology and encourage improved standards of recording, research, publication and conservation.” Industrial archaeology in Britain then may be regarded as having come of age in the space of about twenty years after its birth, with the result that it became impossible for established disciplines to ignore it.
    The vigorous growth of industrial archaeology in Britain could not fail to produce a deep impression on fellow researchers overseas. Not only in Europe but also in the Americas, Australia, India and Japan, an enhanced interest in the industrial heritage is noted, even though the number of those concerned with it is smaller than in Britain, and the unsatisfactory term, ‘industrial archaeology, ’has spread all over the world, having been translated verbatim into the respective languages of other nations. In Japan, ‘Sangyo-Kokogakukai (Industrial Archaeology Society)’was established in 1977, its membership totalling 485 as of September, 1984.
    It may not be amiss to say that industrial archaeology has developed in Britain as the study of the remains of manufacturing, mining, engineering and transport in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with special attention focused on their preservation in situ, through the cooperation of innumerable unpaid amateurs. But not a few specialists argue that it must remove the limitations of time and scope, and take up the centuries prior to the two centuries mentioned above, and also the twentieth century in particular, including agricultural and social monuments in addition to those already familiar to industrial archaeologists in general. The present reporter cannot help entertaining apprehensions that, in an age of economic recession, industrial archaeology in Britain will lose its two well-known characteristics, i.e., the cooperation of an enormous number of amateurs and the priority given to the preservation in situ of industrial monuments, if such an extention of time should prove to be absolutely necessary.
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