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ASHA NEWS

 
Compiled by Charlotte Feakins

Below is the last bursary recipients report on the 2019 conference. Thanks to all the recipients for submitting their thoughts on the conference. I think we are all looking forward to the 2020 conference in Melbourne!

This year’s ASHA conference at Port Macquarie showcased a range of fascinating projects from researchers, students and heritage professionals. I particularly enjoyed the opening presentation by keynote speaker Richard Shing who provided a thought-provoking account of colonial heritage in Vanuatu. This was followed by the lively ASHA Speed Trials—an informative and amusing start to the conference.

Over the two days, sessions were themed into settler-indigenous relations, war and fences, convicts, people and place, colonial artefacts, new approaches and heritage management with most sessions hosting around four papers. For me, the broad variety of projects and approaches among, and within, sessions highlighted the scope of historical archaeology—its unique capacity to illuminate the past through multiple lines of evidence, from the micro to the macro level.

In conclusion, the ASHA conference was a fantastic experience. The people were friendly and supportive and the papers and posters were engaging. I would like to thank ASHA for awarding me with a bursary to attend, I’m already looking forward to ASHA 2020.

 
Compiled by Daniel J. Leahy

Daniel was another of the bursary recipients and his thoughts on the conference are below.  

 

As Armidale has been suffering from a drought for a number of months, it was great to see both green grass and blue water – the time away also gave me a few days of relaxation. I was interested by a number of papers presented at the conference. Gordon Grimwade’s paper on the WWII heritage of Horn Island in Queensland, a site which I’m including in my own PhD research, was extremely interesting and gave me some insight to an area I’m yet to visit. As the President of the University of New England (UNE) Archaeology Society, it was also great to see papers presented by current and former UNE students such as Caitlyn D’Gluyas, Karen Filewood, and Crystal Phillips. Though the standout paper for me was Matthew Kelly’s presentation on Papua New Guinean carriers during WWII, especially regarding the Orokaiva people, whose land I have visited numerous times over the past 20 years (my grandmother’s brother-in-law was killed in Oro Province during the fighting of early 1943).

However, the most rewarding aspect of attending the 2019 ASHA Conference had to be the social connections that were made. For me this included both catching up with old friends and colleagues and also making new connections or receiving new tips about additional sites for my PhD project. To me, this is what such conferences are about – the collaboration and sharing of ideas and information. It was also interesting to see what aspects and ideas people wanted to discuss about both my own presentation and a poster I had compiled for the conference.

I will admit that when the venue of the 2019 ASHA Conference was announced I was disappointed. While I understand that Port Macquarie is indeed an historic area and relatively central in New South Wales, as a non-driver it meant a 12+ hour rail journey – each way – even from the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale. Furthermore, with another annual archaeology conference commencing literally days after the end of the ASHA Conference it meant that I would be unable to attend both. Ultimately, as my current PhD project aligns with historical archaeology, I opted to attend the ASHA Conference. Additionally, as a colleague was also attending, I was able to hitch a ride, ultimately saving me from the long rail journeys. Others had expressed similar feelings about the conference in the lead up to the event, so I was a tad dubious about how it would turn out, but ultimately I am glad that I was able to attend. During the conference it was announced that the 2020 ASHA Conference will be held in Melbourne. I am thoroughly looking forward to next year’s conference, as it is close to my ‘home turf’ and I am planning to conduct fieldwork in Victoria in the near future. So I hope to have lots to share at the upcoming conference.

 
Compiled by Jenna Walsh (1), and Angela Gurr (2)

(1) Honours student, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University. Chairperson, NASC 2019

(2) PhD candidate, Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit, The University of Adelaide. National Committee member, NASC 2019.

The 2019 National Archaeology Student Conference has drawn to a close after four successful and engaging days. NASC was hosted this year by Flinders University students at Flinders’ Adelaide CBD campus from October 1-4. The Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology (ASHA) generously sponsored this event, along with other industry associations including AAA and AACAI. NASC is an annual event organised by students, for students, and relies heavily upon industry engagement and financial support.

Interstate delegates from the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, Macquarie University, The University of Sydney, Australian National University and the University of Western Australia joined local students from Flinders University and The University of Adelaide to network and share research. The 2019 Committee, chaired by Flinders University honours student Jenna Walsh, created a welcoming, professional and inclusive environment, in keeping with the 2019 theme, ‘The Future of Our Past: innovation, inclusion and interdisciplinary research’. The conference aimed to address current trends in our field and celebrate people of different abilities, ethnicities, gender and socioeconomic status coming together to do archaeology and innovate new techniques. A wide variety of student research and fieldwork experiences were shared via podium, art and poster presentations, with specialties including Indigenous, historical and maritime archaeology, osteoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, archaeological science and Ancient Studies featured.

Special guest Richard Osgood (UK) delivered the opening keynote speech ‘The catharsis of trauma – archaeology as wellbeing’. Richard is the Senior Archaeologist with the British Ministry of Defence and co-founder of Operation Nightingale, an initiative which employs archaeological fieldwork to assist the recovery of service personnel and wounded veterans. He shared his knowledge and experience in an inspiring and engaging hour that went all too fast. Dr Mitchell Allen, of UC Berkeley and the Smithsonian Institution, presented his 40 years’ experience as an academic publisher, and his valuable insights on the digital revolution and its impact on archaeological publishing. In addition to his archaeological career, Mitchell runs Scholarly Roadside service, a publishing consulting company. Dr Georgia Roberts from ANCATL introduced the new National Skills Passport initiative to a South Australian audience for the first time, and research by staff at Flinders University was featured during a delightful Wednesday evening session at which members of the archaeological public enjoyed local wines and specially prepared cheese platters. A leisurely sunset dinner cruise on board the MV Dolphin Explorer at Port Adelaide concluded the conference on Friday evening

The major award for NASC 2019, The Flinders University Archaeological Society Award, was presented to Isaac Roberts of Macquarie University for his research into misuse and repatriation of Indigenous artefacts in institutional art collections. In addition to their general sponsorship, ASHA generously contributed a prize of $80 for excellence in presenting internationally themed work, which was given to Iona Claringbold of ANU for her impressive research into zooarchaeology in Polynesia. Iona’s research focussed on the significance of pig-human interactions on Aniwa. Keynotes Richard Osgood and Mitchell Allen judged the awards and were impressed by the high standard of student work in Australia: “I should come to student conferences more often! This is just wonderful!” Mitchell said.

Information and a gallery of images from NASC 2019 may be found via www.nascaustralia.com. The 2019 committee is in the process of selecting a university to hold the next conference.

Sponsorship interests: NASC 2019 was generously supported by Australian Archaeological Association, Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc., The College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University, Dr Claire Smith, Dr Daryl Wesley, Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology, Comber Consultants, Integrated Heritage Services, CAA Australasia, Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies, Scarp Archaeology, Neale Draper and Associates, the South Australian Maritime Museum, Australian Heritage Services, and Flinders University Archaeological Society.

 

 

Compiled by Gordon Grimwade

Gordon was another of the bursary recipients for the conference last month. You can read his thoughts on the conference below.

 

Any conference that can produce fascinating papers on brothels, stone walls, buffalo shooters, Vanuatu and perpetrators of domestic violence has met its goals. The 2019 ASHA conference at Port Macquarie again provided opportunities for historical archaeologists to exchange ideas and knowledge while interweaving it with invaluable networking over culturally appropriate beverages.

As usual the field trips stimulated ongoing discussion. Many of us would love to welcome seeing Innes House made more accessible and interpreted to the level of its significance. Several tour participants who later saw the model of Innes House in the Port Macquarie Museum remarked on the complexity of this icon of opulence, ego, technology and money.

The three minute presentations proved popular even though, according to well informed sources, a couple at least were artfully cobbled together only the day before. Once again the diversity of topics was little short of amazing. Only at an ASHA conference could Qantas, an artist’s studio, a bung jar and a wire fence tensioner demonstrate any commonality.

A quarter of the presenters of the traditional papers were students. I’m not sure if the committee did it intentionally but virtually every session followed the 1:3 ratio. ASHA conferences are a great opportunity for students to highlight their projects and to get feedback on their work.

Several excellent papers were of archaeological interest while others were almost pure history in their content. In some ways that is hardly surprising as we are historical archaeologists but it makes me wonder if we should be looking at a combined conference with the Professional Historians Association at some stage as they have overlapping interests.

Finally, my congratulations and thanks to the organizing committee and the local volunteers, including Mitch and the ladies who manned the registration and book sales desk.

Compiled by Greg Hil

The 2019 ASHA conference bursary recipients have provided us with a short report on their experience of the conference. We start with words from Greg Hil.

This year’s ASHA conference at Port Macquarie was, as many others will undoubtedly agree, a well-executed affair along a beautiful section of Australian coast.

The venue, the Glasshouse, was built atop the archaeological remains of a nineteenth-century penal settlement and thus embodied-well this year’s theme of ‘Colonial Futures’. That is, the ways in which Australasia’s colonial past continues to manifest itself both in the archaeological record and our lives today.

Starting things off was an acknowledgement of the region’s deep human past through a much-enjoyed Welcome to Country by Uncle Bill of the Birpai LALC. Over the two days of talks, uninitiated attendees were given a detailed account of Port Macquarie’s rich colonial history by local archaeologists and speakers. A personal highlight was Crystal Phillips’ overview of the port’s historical cemetery (1824-1886), which was well worth a visit.

Further afield, presenters covered topics that ranged from dry stone walls in South Australia (John Pickard), to the slums of Melbourne and Buenos Aires (Pamela Ricardi), and juvenile convicts of Point Puer, Tasmania (Caitlin D’Gluyas).

Drinks, as well as good food and conversation, were enjoyed by many at local pubs and restaurants in the afterhours of each day’s sessions. Georgia Roberts’ thought-provoking introduction of the Australian archaeological skills passport was no-doubt included in more than a few of those discussions.

The conference dinner at Zebu Waterfront Restaurant had good attendance and was an enjoyable ending to my first ASHA conference experience.

The three best paper/poster prizes were well-deserved, and were each personal favourites, including Nadia Bajzelj’s fascinating paper on Melbourne’s brothels (best paper), Charlotte Feakin’s masterful overview of the buffalo shooting industry of Northern Territory (best student paper; I had no idea that once existed in Australia!), and an informative poster on colonial shipwrecks off the coast of Sydney by Connor McBrian, Milly Bendell, and Benjamin Wharton (best poster).

I am already looking forward to next year’s conference in Melbourne, which, marking the 50th anniversary of ASHA, should be a ripper!

 
Compiled by Penny Crook

The 2019 ASHA Conference was held in Port Macquarie, in Birpai Country on the NSW mid-north coast, 13–16 October. It was a busy few days with site tours, workshops and two days of papers discussing current issues in local and global historical archaeological research and heritage management.

In his Keynote address Richard Shing, Director of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, provided a detailed introduction to the fascinating history and archaeology of Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu from its roots in Lapita culture 3,000 years ago to colonial contact and invasion from 17th to 20th centuries, and its development since Independence in 1980.

The successive occupations of the British and French in the late-19th century, and the American forces in World War II, have left a legacy of demographic change, dispossession of traditional land and disruption to local customs. It also produced a complex landscape of colonial-era buildings that overlie pre-colonial sites.

The oldest surviving colonial structure, the 1853 stone house built by missionaries Reverend John and Charlotte Geddie on Aneityum Island, preserved pre-colonial strata along with extraordinary archaeological evidence of culture contact. At the threshold of the study John Geddie interred spirit stones to remind local Aneityumese that they were stepping over their customary beliefs to hear the word of God.

Amidst the challenges of cultural site management in the Pacific, with development pressure and the impact of tourism, there is for some a unique displeasure in preserving of decaying buildings of an oppressive rule. As Richard noted, the atrocities of the colonial era remain in living memory and the narrative of this era is often simplified to one of ‘cruel masters and benign slaves’. Archaeology provides a way to mediate this history.

As Director of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, Richard has overseen the collaboration between archaeologists and local Islanders who have excavated many sites spanning Lapita to colonial eras. A dedication to community outreach, events, publications and skill-building has seen young Ni-Vanuatu school children work on excavations and go on to pursue careers in archaeology.

It was a privilege to conference goers that we could hear this account first hand. ASHA is grateful to Richard for making the time in his busy schedule to share his knowledge with us. Thanks also to James Flexner and the University of Sydney for assisting with travel arrangements.

The Keynote address was proudly sponsored by GML Heritage.

Further Reading

Flexner, James L. 2013. Mission archaeology in Vanuatu: Preliminary findings, problems, and prospects. Australasian Historical Archaeology 31: 14.

Zubrzycka, Adele, Martin J. Jones, Stuart Bedford, James L. Flexner, Matthew Spriggs, and Richard Shing. 2018. Misi Gete’s mission house: archaeological investigations of the oldest surviving colonial building in the New Hebrides. Australasian Historical Archaeology 36: 38.

‘Keynote Presenter, Richard Shing during his presentation in the Glasshouse Studio and post presentation with the 2019 Conference organising committee. Left to right: Bronwyn Woff, Jane Rooke, Anita Yousif, Richard Shing, Nick Pitt and Caiti D’Gluyas’.


Written by Catherine Tucker and Bronwyn Woff

In August and September ASHA hosted two workshops in Melbourne that were a great success!

The workshops were a beginners guide to historic artefact identification, and conservation basics for archaeologists.

Both events were fully booked with 40 attendees, and waiting lists for extra places.

Dr Christine Williamson, Bronwyn Woff and Holly Jones-Amin presented respectively on ceramic artefacts, glass bottle basics and in-field conservation first aid.

We would like to thank Heritage Victoria and their staff for the use of the Artefact Centre and the archaeological collections as well as their assistance in helping with the events.

If you would like to suggest or help organise ASHA events in your region, contact events@asha.org.au


 
Written by Megan Liddicoat | Policy Offer | Climate Change Division Energy, Environment and Climate Change | Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Victoria Unearthed: updated with more data and better usability.

Victoria Unearthed is an easy to use interactive map which brings together environmental and historical information. It has been developed by the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) and Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) to help users investigate potential and existing contamination of land and groundwater.

The historical business information in Victoria Unearthed includes over half a million historical business records dating back to the 1890s, digitised for the first time as part of this project. These come from Sands and McDougall directories (Victoria’s original 'phone books') and can provide clues on where past business activity may have resulted in legacy contamination. The information included in Victoria Unearthed is derived from directories published around every 10 years between 1896 and 1974 and involves only information listed in the trades and business directories – not the residential sections.

The environmental information in Victoria Unearthed includes several EPA datasets: sites with EPA licences, sites on EPA’s Priority Sites Register (locations with known environmental issues), groundwater restrictions, planning overlays of potential or identified contamination (environmental audit overlays), and the location of past and present landfills.

For specialist users, all this data is also being made available in spatial formats through DataVic or Spatial Datamart.

You can find out more about Victoria Unearthed at www.environment.vic.gov.au/victoria-unearthed and access the map via mapshare.vic.gov.au/victoriaunearthed

Compiled by Stephanie Moore

ASHA's Inaugural Trivia Night - May 2019

The team at ASHA HQ decided to try something a little different for National Archaeology Week this year, by testing our member's knowledge of their field.

With assistance from the Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre, ASHA hosted a classic 'Pub Quiz' style trivia night for our Sydney contingent.

Content for the evening was provided by dedicated ASHA member, Jayden van Beek, who worked hard to ensure a variety of questions sure to stump even the most accomplished archaeologists.

Hosted by the talented David Ellis, the trivia night saw a good turn out, with four teams competing for glory.


Questions started with a focus on international archaeology and a Time Team themed "Who Am I?", followed by a devilish Australian Archaeology round which kept the teams on their toes. Finishing up with a general knowledge round, the teams were fairly well matched throughout the competition, although one clear winner stood out.

1st Place was awarded to "Glitch in the Matrix", a team that screamed ahead on bonus points after snapping up both the 'Who Am I?' and 'Where Am I?'questions.

Taking home the coveted wooden spoon prize, a stunning bag of plastic dinosaurs, were youngsters "I'm Smartacus".

Those in attendance unanimously agreed that the event would be held for National Archaeology Week in 2020, with the hope that this would become an annual event, where consultants and academics alike could compete for bragging rights.

If you were unable to attend this year's quiz, we encourage you to keep an eye out for details next year.

If you are interested in getting involved in ASHA in Sydney, please join us for 'Archaeology in the Pub' on Thursday July 25th from 5.30pm, at the Shakespeare Hotel in Surry Hills.

If you would like further details of this, or other ASHA events, please contact events@asha.org.au

Upcoming event
 

Each year, the National Trust of Australia (Queensland) awards outstanding projects and people that demonstrate excellence in the protection, conservation and celebration of Queensland’s environmental, built and cultural heritage.

Heritage awards

The National Trust annual Queensland Heritage Awards are a prestigious acknowledgment of the quality of heritage work that is carried out across the State. The Awards seek to showcase the entrants and promote best practice, encourage innovation and collaboration, and celebrate the diversity of heritage places in Queensland.

For more information or to nominate go to https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/heritage-awards-qld/