Awakening to Ruins


I’m reading through Robert Ginsberg’s The Aesthetics of Ruin (2004) again and came across this wonderful poem he wrote about the different options for a ruin (120):

Awakening to ruins necessitates making choices. These choices of what to do about the ruins are choices of who the community is.

Choice for Ruin

tear it down

rebuild it

leave it alone

forget about it

build on top of it

move it to a museum

clean it up

use it for something else

landscape it

pave around it for a parking lot

put in a service road

forbid highway access

fence it in

erect a ticket booth

write a guidebook for it

sell reproductions and postcards

permit guided tours

make it a national monument

seek designation as a World Heritage Site

denounce it as a local eyesore

mow the grass

let it grow

put in lighting

put on sound-and-light shows

sell ice cream

install toilets

add gift shop

tear down contiguous structures

employ guardians

advertise on posters

distribute brochures

build interpretive center

introduce telephones

sell color film

support scholarly research

open tea house.


Ginsberg, Robert. 2004. The Aesthetics of Ruins. New York: Rodopi.

Archaeologies of Displacement and Urban Renewal in Detroit


Last week I attended the “Archaeology and Revitalization in Detroit” sessions at the Michigan Historic Preservation Network‘s annual meeting in Detroit, on the campus of Wayne State University. The session, which was split into two parts, featured the research of several Wayne State faculty members and graduate students and Robert Chidester from the Mannik & Smith Group in Maumee, Ohio. In this post, I’ll be discussing some of the main themes of the session, focusing on the cycles of displacement and ‘renewal’ that structure the city’s history (and future).

Read More…

Urbex in Baltimore


Reporter Jessica Anderson recently interviewed me for this fascinating piece about urban exploration in Baltimore. I enjoyed talking with her about the allure of abandoned/vacant spaces and learning more about the work of Dan Bell!

Amy Haimerl

Journalist, Author & Detroit-Home Renovator


we advocate for Michigan's historic places because they contribute to our economic vitality, sense of place and connection to the past.

A complicated past.

The messy intersection of archaeology, history, and popular culture.

Industrial Archaeology / Heritage

Industrial Heritage - random notes from the far south

Restaurant-ing through history

Exploring American restaurants over the centuries

Baltimore Brick By Brick

Details Deconstruction and Brick + Board are unbuilding Baltimore blocks, one brick at a time

The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World

My continued musings on archaeology, technology, teaching, and history.


Exploring female experiences of imprisonment during the Irish Civil War (1922-1923)


Recording, photographing, deciphering, analysing and understanding historical graffiti from Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin. This research has been funded by the Irish Research Council (2012-2014)

Doug's Archaeology

Investigating the Profession and Research

Public Archaeology 2015

Public Engagement with Archaeological Themes & Practices

Public Places Past and Present

Thinking about the use of ancient and modern public places


Project | Architecture | Inspiration

Digital Dirt Virtual Pasts

Blogging the Tears and Triumphs of an Archaeological Illustrator

Bones Don't Lie

Current News in Mortuary Archaeology and Bioarchaeology

Discard Studies

Social studies of waste, pollution & externalities

Unearthing Detroit

collections-based archaeological research at Wayne State

Waste Effects

an investigation into the wastes of building, writing and collecting