Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Michael S. Nassaney

Second Advisor

Dr. Allan Sagarell

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles E. Orser Jr.

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This exposition utilizes Marxian theory in conjunction with archaeological and historiographic data to understand and interpret the significance of the landscape in the political economy of a mid-nineteenth century farmstead in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Shepard site (20CA104) was a family owned, progressive farm that went through many significant changes between the frontier era (ca. 1834) and the eve of the Civil War. By exploring the political, economic, and ideological aspects of the site architecture, the familial gender divisions of labor, and class relations between the family and non-familial workers, many aspects of the political-economic contradictions between the landscape and social relations are revealed. Therefore, this research contributes to at least three important areas of current academic scholarship: (1) debates on agrarian political-economic transitions in the US; (2) critical historical archaeology, specifically, farmstead archaeology; and (3) Michigan and Battle Creek agrarian historiography.