asha

ASHA NEWS

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/

Pamela Kottaras, EMM Consulting Pty Ltd

When you hear the words ‘cultural landscapes’ what comes to mind?

This is what comes to my mind most readily


Perhaps because this is what I first thought of as a landscape. When you think of landscape artists – John Constable, Fredrick McCubbin, Sidney Nolan, Condrad Martins and of course Fred Williams (landscape with a goose, sapling forest), you might think of trees and hills, with maybe a person, maybe not. Then there’s Daisy Helen Tjupantarri Ward, Dorothy Napandardi and a long, long list of Aboriginal artists who paint the landscape in the tradition that non-Aboriginal people recognise, but who also paint landscapes that are coded, with meaning that must be explained to the uninitiated. Non-Aboriginal Australians are becoming more familiar with works like those created in styles that are more akin to the traditions of the artists’ homeland.

In this first picture we have gently rolling hills, like waving lengths of fabric; a dead tree in the foreground, hills in the background and in between incised gullies and creek beds. In the middle distance a shed, and in the clump of trees is probably a house. This little group of structures was made with human hands. The trees surrounding the house were probably planted 60 years ago, as were the windbreaks. They are cultural.

The trees in the foreground and middle distance are, or were, native. Dieback. But more native trees can be seen in the distance in the gully. Even a long time ago, when this area was covered in open woodland – dominated by Eucalypts and Angophora, with a forb and grass under-storey and was ‘natural’, it was cultural.

In the foreground the stone outcrop is silcrete. Behind me, in the silcrete, there are grinding grooves. Somewhere in this photograph, there is probably an archaeological site – maybe within the clump of trees before the newer house was built and maybe closer to a creek. If you look hard enough, you can see these things.

Then there’s the invisible - the hills in the distance may have been formed by a sleeping girl, or a pair of friends hiding from a kestrel – the intangible. It isn’t the result of the millions of years of geological activity and erosion that we believe has formed this continent.


Photo 2 is the same stump but capturing the horizon to the west, although the view is north. The landform in the distance is important to the Aboriginal people of the region. It’s a natural landform and its significance is intangible. I’m not at liberty to say what it is, but that isn’t important for this piece. These landscapes are easy to distinguish for heritage consultants and many others besides. They might not see the value in them, but they can see them.


But what about this? Clearly, it’s a track. But in the 1880s to the early twentieth century it was a road that carried heavy bullock-drawn vehicles from a town to an industrial area and back again. It’s on private property but if you could walk it, it would take you from the industrial area, to a newer alignment of that same road, but that has not been used for many years. The newer road is sealed with bitumen and crowded by tall eucalypts and small ferns, but it is recognisable as a road. The kind of road that I’d want to walk down to see where it takes me. I could look at an old street directory or an old aerial photograph, but its not nearly as satisfying if you like walking and looking.

These old roads form a small network that was used not only by the people that worked their little mine lease, but by people who lived there to work their little mine lease.


Finally,is this little piece of land. A jumble of rocks, some dead blackberry patches, and what I’m assured is a quince tree. Documentary research and local knowledge tell us that this little patch of land was a camp site. In fact, more like a residence, that was a camp site for people looking to make their fortune in mining and to feed their families and eventually to put a proper roof over their heads.

There is a more house-like structure nearby, in fact a house (or part of one), which is easier to spot. But other areas just look like field clearance at a glance until you look more closely. Then you can see structure, or tracks lined with stones, or artefacts – ceramic, tin cans, glass. Or stone artefacts made of silcrete and chert.

There is information here that is valuable. For what? Research? What kind of research? I don’t know – spatial analysis of itinerant camps? Or permanent camps that people lived in with their husbands, their wives and their children? Their cow and maybe a vehicle?

This landscape is one of a small handful in the local area, all there for the same reason, and with little topsoil to hold much deposit. It might not deliver much in terms of archaeological contexts but I’m sure that if we look at it as a horizontal landscape, we might be able to learn some things.

The good news about this area is that it won’t be destroyed. But it will be closed off for another 30 years. We’ve been lucky enough to have a client who understands why there is a certain group of people who see value in these rocks on the ground. I’ve managed to convince them that all these little living spaces and the routes between them are worthy of recording with topographic survey and photographically. Some of the bits and pieces are so scattered, it’s difficult to tell what they could have been. If at the very least, the plans are made available to other researches who can compare them to other such sites and make some sense of how and why the countryside was used the way it was. How did the woman and her husband and their three, four, five children live here?

What I hope to do is convince more clients to record sites that are not going to be destroyed, that might not even reach the threshold for significance on their own, to record and lodge to make the data available to other researchers. And that way maybe they won’t become forgotten landscapes.

upcoming event long
Upcoming Event Short
Richard Morrison, ASHA ACT Representative

This very successful event was held on the morning of 4 May 2019 within the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival. It was the second such symposium partnered with the Canberra Archaeological Society (CAS) - a body established in 1963 (prior to ASHA) to provide a forum for academics, students and members of the public on all types of archaeology. It conducts archaeological projects and monthly lectures.

The Symposium, ‘Contemporary archaeology: How archaeology is practised today’ was held at the prestigious National Museum of Australia with 5 eminent speakers, including one who Skyped-in, and was jointly organised by Richard Morrison of ASHA and Dr Iain Johnston of CAS. The Symposium flyer is available here.

It was advertised in numerous places and was attended by more than 60 people (we had 100 Eventbrite registrations) including the ACT’s Minister for Environment and Heritage, archaeology and heritage students, academics, and a broad cross section of the public.

We opened with a traditional Welcome to Country undertaken by Paul House, a Ngambri man, including a short didgeridoo presentation with some audience participation on clapping sticks.

The symposium introduction presented information on historical archaeology, ASHA and and CAS.

Three speakers, including Emeritus Professor Richard Wright AM (who came out from retirement in Sydney to speak), illustrated their important work in historical archaeology.

Dr Michael Pearson AO discussed the work, including his own, of Australian archaeologists across Antarctica in the context of activity by all nations.He highlighted the issue of a lack of ongoing and current involvement of archaeologists in Mawson’s Hut conservation.

Emeritus Professor Richard Wright AM spoke on his important and sensitive work under difficult circumstances in providing archaeological evidence war crimes trials related to various European conflicts. His paper provided confronting and compelling insights into terrible crimes and the pursuit of those responsible. He also reflected on his more recent key role in identifying 250 Australian soldiers buried in mass graves from WWI at Fromelles, France.

Dr Alice Gorman spoke on her current research into Apollo 11 heritage found at Tranquillity Base on the Moon. In particular, she focussed on the conceptual significance of shadows which have been used both by scientists, to investigate the Moon’s topography and geomorphology, and conspiracy theorists, to attempt to disprove that Apollo 11 ever went to the Moon.Dr Gorman gave her paper (from Adelaide, via Skype) on Space Archaeology and, in so doing, met the Heritage Festival’s theme of Space.

Dave Johnston, Indigenous heritage and archaeological consultant, presented and discussed a video illustrating the story of a positive collaboration between farmers and the Indigenous community concerning an ochre quarry in the Canberra region as shared heritage.

Dr Iain Johnston spoke on his Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies project returning Indigenous cultural heritage. He focussed on an aspect of this project related to an important rock art site at Kakadu and it’s recording through usual techniques and oral histories from the descendants of the creators still connected to the site. This illuminated the most recent repainting, in possibly, a very ancient process of traditional renewal - the site has been dated to about 25,000 years ago.

A Q&A panel concluded the Symposium.

The audience definitely seemed to appreciate the interesting and varied topics, in comments explicitly referring to the astonishing scope and diversity now covered in the broad field of archaeology, including historical archaeology.

The President of CAS, Dr Duncan Wright, congratulated (on behalf of CAS) Iain Johnston and myself ‘for an extremely successful ‘Contemporary Archaeology’ symposium. This included a remarkable array of fascinating presentations - archaeology of mass burials/ war crimes, space archaeology, archaeology of Antarctica, local ACT archaeology, also rock art and repatriation. It was attended by 60+ members of the public (including Senator (sic) Mick Gentleman) and Richard and Iain should be congratulated for how smoothly this went, not to mention their sparkling MCing!’

As an initiative of ASHA to promote historical archaeology and hopefully encourage new memberships in the regions, this was an undoubted success.

upcoming event long
Upcoming Event Short
Compiled by Blog Editor

The next ASHA Sydney reading group will be held on Thursday evening, 14 March.

However, for the first time you can attend online via Zoom Meeting. This will be particularly useful for ASHA members who live outside of Sydney but who want to join in the conversation.

The topic will be the articles in most recent volume of the ASHA journal - Australasian Historical Archaeology. Current members can download copies of all the articles in the journal via the ASHA website.

Location and Time:

GML Heritage

Level 6, 372 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

6:00-7:30pm, Thursday 14th March 2019

Alternately - you can attend online via Zoom. The link will be sent out to remote attendees who RSVP.

Thank you to GML Heritage for providing the venue.

RSVP

Please let us know you’re coming, by emailing events@asha.org.au by 4pm on Thursday 14th March for catering purposes. Please let us know whether you are coming in person or would like a link to the online Zoom meeting.

Upcoming Event

Upcoming Event
Written by 

Joshua Davis


There is an event coming up this March. This is a joint event with our friends at AICOMOS, AACAI and Heritage Perth - please register your interest as soon as possible. Would be great to see a large ASHA turnout!

There will be three great presentations.

  • Greg Meacham is technical manager at Timber Insight and will present us Restoring Australia’s largest gold mining timber head-frame.
  • Marc Beattie is an Associate in element’s heritage team and will present us Power for the People: East Perth Power Station and its substations.
  • Dr Sean Winter is a part-time Lecturer in archaeology at UWA and the Principal Archaeologist for Winterborne Heritage Consulting and will present us Labour and Industry in WA Heritage.

 Wine and nibbles will follow.

You just need to register on the following link.

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/the-best-of-industrial-heritage-in-western-australia-tickets-57472941114

Please note that numbers are limited.

WHEN: Thursday March 21st, from 5:30-8pm

WHERE: Element’s Boardroom - Parmelia Hilton Level 19, 191 St Georges Tce.

Also, I would like to ask you to save the following Seminar dates on your calendars for all collaborative events with AICOMOS, AACAI and Heritage Perth:

    June 20th, Built Heritage

    September 19th, Museology

    December 3rd, Archaeology

All seminars are in principle at Element’s office located on Level 19/ 191 St Georges Tce, from 5:30pm-8pm, unless otherwise stated.

ASHA events
ASHA Events short
Compiled by Blog Editor

On 26 September 2018, ASHA held a workshop on Artefact Identification and Analysis as part of the 2018 ASHA/AIMA Conference in Parramatta.

There was a good turnout of members, students and non-members with 25 attending each session.

Specialists talked on the artefact categories that are often, if not always, found during excavations. These categories also have the dubious reputation of being the hardest to catalogue because of their huge range of functions, fabrics, decor, manufacturing techniques etc.

This workshop also provided an ideal opportunity to showcase one of Australia’s earliest potters, Thomas Ball, so we can recognise, and therefore verify the presence of Ball’s work on sites in and around Sydney.

All presenters arrived laden with interesting artefacts that helped demonstrate the identification technique with a hands-on approach.

Jeanne Harris held two sessions and talked on the topics of ceramics and glass.

Robyn Stocks talked about two categories close to her heart, miscellaneous and building materials.

Mary Casey and Bernadette McCall prepared and presented a session on identifying Thomas Ball pottery.

Each presenter has provided ASHA with their guides on their chosen topics and these resources are now available to ASHA members.

The guides can be found at 

https://asha-2015.worldsecuresystems.com/secure_zone/workshop-resources

The workshop was extremely interesting and enjoyable and there are plans for more workshops heading your way. Watch this space.

Asha events
Written by AHA Editors

Volume 36 of Australasian Historical Archaeology was mailed to members in January. The issue is the first of the new editorial team of Annie Clarke, Penny Crook, James Flexner and Sarah Hayes and showcases a range of papers on historical archaeology in Australia–Pacific region.

The issue includes a fascinating review of the politicisation of Australian colonial smoking practices and clay pipe form known as the ‘Squatters Budgeree’ (Gojak and Courtney) and a review of recent palynological evidence of the landscape of the Tank Stream in Sydney (Macphail and Owen).

Two papers from the broader Pacific rim, on foreign goods in Hawaiian households (Flexner et al) and a mission house in Vanuatu (Zubrzycka et al) showcase developing trends in historical archaeology in the region, and demonstrate the importance of regional context for Australian and New Zealand sites where similar stories of cultural intersection echoed through the colonies.

An introduction to the archaeology of the Parramatta Industrial School for Girls (Jones) demonstrates the importance of reflecting on the material culture of recent times through an archaeological lens.

The volume also includes two studies of overlooked components of infrastructure best understood by a landscape approach: water-management infrastructure in the case of the Victorian goldfields (Davies and Lawrence) and stone-arch bridges in the case of transport networks in Canterbury, NZ (O’Connell and Koenig).

A contribution to the advancement of use-wear analysis on glass vessels from Christchurch (Platts and Smith) has potential applications for artefact studies through the Australasian region.

Finally, a research report on a mining settlement in the Blue Mountains of NSW (Parkes et al) sets out the potential for a closer study of this domestic assemblage in an industrial setting.

Along with book reviews and thesis abstracts, this diverse selection of papers demonstrates the strength of AHA as the outlet for new research in historical archaeology.

For the full contents list see http://www.asha.org.au/journals/2010s/volume-36.

Volume 37 is filling up fast so prospective authors should email editor@asha.org.au as soon as possible if they are planning to submit in 2019 (and note the revision Submission Guidelines http://www.asha.org.au/submission-information.html).

If you haven’t received your copy, contact secretary@asha.org.au.

ASHA events
Compiled by Jane Rooke and Abi Cryhall

Welcome to the New Year and the new committee!

In case you haven’t been introduced here are the new committee members:

  • President—Anita Yousif
  • Vice Presidents—Mary Casey & Penny Crook
  • Secretary—Caitlin D’Gluyas
  • Treasurer—Helen Nicholson
  • Web Manager—Nick Pitt
  • Blog Editors—Abi Cryerhall & Jane Rooke
  • Awards Coordinator—Catherine Tucker
  • Education Resources Coordinator—Alison Frappell
  • Other Societies Representative—Iain Stuart
  • Public/Community Engagement Coordinator—Jennifer Jones-Travers
  • Social Media Officer—Ngaire Richards
  • Events Coordinator—Stephanie Moore
  • General Committee Member—Bronwyn Woff

Just a bit of shameless advertising…if you have anything you would like to blog please feel free to email us at blog@asha.org.au. Perhaps there is an upcoming event you would like to advertise or a past event you would like to share. Is there an artefact worthy of the title ‘Artefact of the Month’ or an interesting project you have been working on or dreaming about? Send them to us and we will pop them on the website. We have some exciting blogs already planned but are always keen to have many more up our sleeves!

 

ASHA Strategic Planning Weekend in Canberra


Although a great deal gets achieved in our monthly ASHA committee meetings, they just don’t give us quite enough time to discuss everything we would like to, so last weekend the ASHA committee traveled to Canberra for a day of planning and strategy. The current committee were present with apologies from Mary Casey and Jennifer Jones-Travers.

The agenda covered:

  • ASHA’s Mission and Vision
  • Committees roles and delegations
  • Membership and outreach
  • ASHA publications, website and social media
  • Collaboration with industry
  • Organisations and visibility
  • ASHA calendar of events 2019-2021 (this included the Conference for the next 5 years)
  • State of the current constitution
  • Pathways Database of Archaeology
  • Archaeology Passport

The sessions were very productive with the agenda discussed and debated, actions decided, and timeframes set. Stay tuned for more details and information on our action list progress in the next few months.
Thank you to GML for providing the Canberra office space for the weekend. Also a huge thank you to Caiti D’Gluyas for her fantastic morning/afternoon teas and lunches.

2019 ASHA Committee at their strategic planning weekend
Photo supplied by Anita Yousif