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Reading Notes

As the mining industry gets set to blow the top off Blair Mountain, archaeologists and activists join together to stop it. Archaeologists are there to record the evidence of the 'Battle of Blair Mountain' in 1921. Some 10 000 miners, marched to the courthouse in Logan to protest martial law and heavy- handed treatment of strikers. They were opposed by 3 000 volunteers under anti-union sheriff, Don Chafin. The archaeologists, from the pattern of ammunition distribution, have determined that the miners fought cleverly in guerrilla fashion, not the undisciplined mob that they were thought to be. One million rounds were fired in five days and estimates of the dead range from twenty to one hundred. Now the archaeologists have been told to pack up and get off the land by the owners, the mining company, of course. It was a fairly major battle, probably bigger than some of the small skirmishes in the War of Independence, but, unlike them, remains almost completely forgotten. Another example of the manipulation of facts and the media to deny labour history.(Archaeology magazine, Jan/Feb, 2012) John Ayers

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