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Session 1: A Beginners Guide to Artefact Identification | 9.30am – 12.00 pm

A beginners guide to:

  1. Ceramics – Jeanne Harris, Urban Analysists

    This session aims to introduce historical archaeologists to the identification of ceramic material types, wares and decorative techniques. Information on dating specific wares and decorative techniques will be provided, as well as a list of references for further research. Also presented will be how to recognize visual clues that help distinguishing similar wares and decorations. While examples of various wares and decorative techniques will be available for hands on examination, participants are welcome to bring along any ceramic artefact they wish to share with the group.

  2. Miscellaneous Finds – Robyn Stocks, Casey & Lowe Pty Ltd

    This session aims to introduce historical archaeologists to the identification of miscellaneous or small finds. While the discussion will concentrate on artefacts commonly found on historic sites, other more unusual items will also be shown that are often only recovered during careful sieving. Information will be given about where many objects were manufactured, their date, and references for further research. Understanding the background and functions of different categories of miscellaneous artefacts can be an invaluable on-site tool, and crucial for the analysis, reporting and presentation of the site to the client and the public. Some strategies on how to tackle difficult identifications will be given and information on caring for objects in the field and lab. The participants are encouraged to bring one or two artefacts that are challenging, so all can learn.

Session 2: Specialist Focus on Finds: the value of expert study | 1:00pm to 3:00pm

  1. Glass Tableware – Jeanne Harris, Urban Analysists

    For many glass tableware from an archaeological context provides basic data on the form and function, but there is so much more information these artefacts can provide. This session will illustrate how specialist analysis can distinguish the quality of the glass and manufacture through in-depth analysis that takes into account multiple characteristic of an item. Stylistic trends are often based on use-popularity date ranges that assist in identifying manufacturing locations and served to narrow date ranges for glass tableware, but as this session hope to illustrate acquiring the cumulative knowledge for such analysis is a long process that can involve years of experience and research. Participants are encouraged to bring unusual items they wish to share with the group.

  2. Building Materials – Robyn Stocks, Casey & Lowe Pty Ltd

    This session will illustrate the main types of building materials found on late 18th and early 19th century sites in Sydney, Parramatta and the western suburbs. Methods of manufacture are also described using evidence from brickyard sites and on the objects themselves. How the bricks, tiles, mortars and plaster differ from each other will be described so that similar examples can be identified by other archaeologists. Examining these artefacts in detail will show the process of recognizing meaningful attributes and how to create a type series that can be a useful aid in the field and during post excavation analysis. It is hoped that the participants will have found similar early building materials during their work and can share their insights with the group.

  3. Thomas Ball Pottery – Mary Casey and Bernadette McCall, both Casey & Lowe Pty Ltd

    Pottery made by convict potter Thomas Ball (c.1801-1823) has been found at many sites associated with British settlers in Australia during the early 19th century. Large quantities have been found near his manufacturing site in the Brickfields (Haymarket, Sydney), as well as other sites in the Rocks and Sydney CBD. It forms an important part of assemblages from well-preserved sites in Parramatta, Tasmania and Norfolk Island. His locally-made pottery was shipped out from Sydney, often as part of Government supplies for early settlements, or for use on private early sites. If you are working on sites dating prior to c.1840 you may find his pottery. This workshop aims to make archaeologists familiar with his pottery so they can identify it in the field, understand vessel forms and the characteristics of the fabric, glazes and decoration.

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