Exploring the archaeology of the modern city: issues of scale, integration and complexity

Tim Murray*, Penny Crook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Historical archaeologists have advocated the need to explore the archaeology of the modern city using several different scales or frames of reference - the household and the district being the most common. In this paper, we discuss the value of comparisons at larger scales, for example between cities or countries, as a basis for understanding archaeology of the modern western city. We argue that patterns of similarity and dissimilarity detected at these larger scales can (and should) become part of our interpretive and explanatory armoury, when it comes to understanding patterns and processes at smaller scales. However, we also believe that these larger scale enquiries do not by any means exhaust (or diminish the importance of) the site- or household-specific questions that continue to demand adequate answers. By reporting some of the thinking behind the work that has been done in Melbourne, Sydney and shortly to begin in London, we seek to more clearly establish the value of this broader comparative agenda in urban historical archaeology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-109
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Historical Archaeology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Integration
  • London
  • Melbourne
  • Nineteenth-century cities
  • Sydney
  • Urban archaeology


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