Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Benjamin Ford, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Phillip Neusius, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jeanine Mazak-Kahne, Ph.D.


This research focuses on the pre-twentieth century development of watercraft construction in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It begins by discussing the mid-eighteenth century development of the boatbuilding industry in Pittsburgh and continues on to explore the city's early attempts at shipbuilding. Pittsburgh's major contributions to the development of steamboat technology, and the westward expansion of riverine commerce that followed, are also examined. This research further addresses Pittsburgh's role in inland waterway navigation improvement projects, and discusses the use of Pittsburgh watercraft for military purposes as well. The primary objective of this investigation is to discover the locations of as many shipyard and boatyard sites as possible within the pre-twentieth century boundaries of Pittsburgh and to analyze the archaeological potential of these watercraft construction sites through the use of documentary research, historical maps, and an onsite evaluation of the level of disturbance of each site.