Excavating Detroit: Archaeological research center, Detroit MI

Hannes Frykholm (website)
School of Architecture, Lund Tekniska Högskola (LTH)
Masters Thesis Project
Faculty: David A. Garcia (website)


The project is a speculation on a future archaeology of the 20th century. Using the empirical research method of archaeology and the analytical design process of architecture, the project investigates the city of Detroit as a case study for how remnants of modernism can be excavated, analyzed, archived and exhibited. The project proposes a series of archaeological excavations adjacent to an existing railroad system, combined with a research center placed in a disused automotive plant.

The center becomes a global node for industrial archaeological research, as well as a tourist attraction with curated exhibitions and training grounds for volunteers taking part in the remote excavations. Hence, the future archaeology of Detroit is turned into a public event, activating the local community as well as generating globally relevant research on the heritage of 20th century modernism.


↑ visitor center

↑ research center entrance and artifact unloading area

↑ artifact archive

↑ visitor center interior

↑ walkway to exit platform

↑ analytical drawing of detroit’s history 1850-2010 (original drawing 1500x1500mm)

↑ montage based on historical research

↑ packard plant research center
↑ archaeological visitor center 1:100

↑ palimpsestic site model 1:500

↑ archaeological excavation work

↑ archaeological site analysis

↑ excavated artifacts

↑ high res 10×10 site photo

↑ high res 10×10 site photo

Leave a Reply