2016 saw the ASHA conference return to New Zealand, specifically to Christchurch, and this location saw a strong focus on the archaeology carried out in Christchurch since the devastating earthquakes of 2011. The conference was held at the Chateau on the Park, with the dinner at The George and a very successful and well-attended field trip to Quail Island, in Lyttelton Harbour. A slightly lower number of papers than usual made for a very pleasantly paced conference, with plenty of question time and socialising. Many people attended the conference, including a number of students from both Australia and New Zealand.
A guest lecture by Katie Pickles(Professor of History, University of Canterbury) provided a fascinating overview of history and heritage in Christchurch post-earthquake,and how the earthquakes have 'ruptured' Christchurch's history. This talk was followed by a series of papers by archaeologists working in Christchurch,on topics ranging from the legislative processes and historical research that underlay much of the archaeological work that has taken place; phenomenology (which specific reference to Christchurch's Art Centre); rubbish pits; the archaeology of the Lyttelton primary school; and service pipe networks. Other papers presented during the course of the conference addressed matters relating to Christchurch's archaeology, as did posters on the retaining walls in Lyttelton (many of which were badly damaged as a result of the earthquake)and another on clay pipes found during the course of post-earthquake archaeology.
Other sessions during the conference covered conflict archaeology,the archaeology of the modern city and the archaeology of public houses, inns and hotels, as well as a student paper session. The papers presented were all of a high standard, and covered topics ranging from considering theoretical issues (particularly with regard to advancing the archaeology of the modern city), broad methodological issues (such as dealing with large/multiple assemblages)to reports on the results of recent fieldwork.
For more details about any of these papers, see the conference programme (pdf).
Report written by Katherine Watson. Many thanks to Katherine and the team at Underground Overground Archaeology for organising an excellent conference.