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ASHA NEWS



Bronwyn Woff, ASHA Blog Editor

Welcome to the final Artefact of the Month (AotM) post for 2017! I hope that you have enjoyed reading the articles put together by our members about interesting artefacts they’ve come across.

We started AotM in February, with ‘Absinthe Bottles at Little Lon’ by Dr Sarah Hayes, and followed with two more articles on glass in March and April – ‘Bullseye! Pontilled Window Glass’ by Bronwyn Woff and ‘Kirin Beer Bottle’ by Melissa Dunk. In May Catherine Tucker shared with us an engraved fork excavated from a Pentridge Prison rubbish tip. In June we headed across the ditch to check out a variety of ceramics excavated from Christchurch in an article by Jessie Garland. 'French Fire Bricks' were our next Artefact of the Month article, with the first of three articles for the year by Felicity Buckingham and Zvonka Stanin. In August Fiona Shanahan showed how artefacts can provide us with proof of once-off events, with the camera lens of a F-52 photoreconnaissance camera used in WWII. In September we continued the aeroplane-related theme, with Miss Australia Air League Badges from the 1950s by Felicity Buckingham. Our ASHA Secretary Caiti D’Gluyas provided us with an interesting look at ‘The Hated Stain’ of convictism through a medal commemorating the Cessation of Convict Transportation in October and we rounded off the year with a final AotM article by Zvonka Stanin demonstrating the fashion of men’s Broad Fall Trousers.

Thanks go out to the authors of each of our submissions for 2017. We are currently looking for Artefact of the Month articles for 2018, so if you have an artefact that you’re interested in writing about (or just want to show it off to fellow archaeologists!) then please email blog@asha.org.au



Sean Winter

In the first half of 2017 Winterborne Heritage conducted archaeological investigations at the State Heritage registered Artillery Drill Hall (Figure 1) in Fremantle on behalf of the National Trust of Western Australia. The Drill Hall was in need of reflooring which also involved significant restumping, and this precipitated the need for excavations inside the building and under the existing floors, prior to ground disturbing floor repairs taking place.


Fig 1: Drill Hall Exterior (supplied by Sean Winter)

The Drill Hall was constructed in 1895, but before that, from 1850, the site was part of the Fremantle Convict Cantonment and is thus within the curtilage of the World Heritage site Fremantle Prison. Documentary evidence indicates that the Drill Hall was built partly over a yard allocated to Sappers of the Royal Engineers and their families, and partly over an area shown as “gardens”. At the end of the convict period in 1886 the land was handed over to the colonial government, and in 1895 was allocated to the military for the construction of one of a number of Drill Halls throughout the Perth metropolitan area. It was retained by the military until the early 1980s, when it was slated for demolition, but was ultimately saved by a community campaign. From 1986 until 2015 the building was used as the Fly-By-Night Musicians Club, a live music venue for local and international acts.


Fig 2: Drill Hall Interior excavations (supplied by Sean Winter)

The internal Drill Hall space measures 21m x 27m and floor repairs were needed throughout this entire area (figure 2). A thick layer of dust had built up under the floor boards on top of existing sediments, and this meant that the underfloor area was extremely dry, with excellent organic preservation. The nature of the construction of the building meant that the joists and bearers sat either on top of, or very close to, the underlying sediment, which limited horizontal movement of artefacts, and this meant that we had high confidence that artefacts were in-situ when recovered.


Fig 3: Garden stakes with 1m scale (supplied by Sean Winter)

It soon became clear that the Drill Hall had been constructed directly over the top of an existing garden area, and that a large amount of convict period material culture had been protected by this construction. Hundreds of roughly cut garden stakes (figure 3) were recovered, many with twine and string still attached, evidence that the gardens were probably being used for the growing of vegetables. Soil samples are yet to be analysed, but we hope that pollen, seeds and other evidence will be able to indicate what type of plants exactly were being grown here. There were also a large number of leather shoes recovered, as well as delicate textiles. Shoe remains are ubiquitous when excavating in the yards at Fremantle Prison, but those tend to be one design – prisoners’ boots. In contrast the shoes recovered here, less than 100m outside the walls of the prison, span a wide range of styles, including ladies’ and childrens’ shoes, indicating perhaps the footwear favoured by the sappers and their families.


Fig 4: WWII military sign (supplied by Sean Winter)

From the Drill Hall period a wide range of military artefacts were recovered, including clothing parts (eg buttons), bullet cartridges, and a metal sign dated January 1943 (figure 4). Also recovered was a shuttlecock made of cork and rattan, evidence that badminton was played recreationally inside the building.

Quite a large number of artefacts were also recovered representative of the Fly-By-Night period, including parts of musical instruments (eg guitar strings, broken drum sticks, plectrums), graffiti, numerous artefacts related to the consumption of mind altering substances, both legal (eg alcohol containers) and illegal (eg syringes), and a large amount of cheap jewellery and other items of adornment.


Fig 5: Craven cigarette packet (supplied by Sean Winter)

One particular artefact class that can be seen from all three periods, is smoking material. From the convict period this is largely represented by clay pipes, but the excellent organic preservation meant that significant amounts of paper was also preserved and recovered in excellent condition. This meant that cigarette packets, match boxes and cigarette papers (figures 5 and 6) were recovered dating from throughout the 20th century. The Fly-By-Night Club was the first music venue in Australia to go smoke free, perhaps as early as 1990, so smoking material related to that period tends to be illicit, with the remains of numerous marijuana joints recovered.


Fig 6: Kali Match Box (supplied by Sean Winter)

The majority of the artefact assemblage is yet to be analysed, but the exceptional organic preservation in the underfloor area means that a large number of fragile artefacts havethat would normally not survive archaeologically, have done so from all three periods of site use. We hope that this will provide us with new understandings about lifeways in Fremantle in the 19th and 20th centuries. A number of journal papers will be published in future on archaeological work at this site, with the first related to the Fly-By-Night period soon to be submitted for publication.



Caitlin Allen

The first Sydney ASHA reading group session was held in August and hosted by GML. ASHA members from a range of backgrounds including museums, archaeological consultancy and academia discussed a number of articles about archaeological interpretation. This theme was chosen as a lead in to the joint ASHA and Interpretation Australia conference in Tasmania, held in October.

The readings by Francis McManamon, Kenneth Lewis, Tracy Ireland and the NSW Heritage Council encompassed a broad range of approaches to and opinions about archaeological interpretation. Inspired by the readings, the discussion freewheeled through a range of issues including:

  • interpretation is an important way of delivering “public benefit” from archaeological projects. It was noted that this benefit is not well defined or understood.
  • physical evidence (artefacts and in situ remains) as the anchor for the interpretation;
  • interpretation on site during excavation versus interpretation afterwards;
  • whether interpretation without physical evidence (ie: based on signage; leaflets; technology etc.) can work;
  • the limitations of archaeology presented behind glass with a preference for archaeological interpretation to be tactile, experiential and accessible;
  • the checkbox mentality and its impact on quality outcomes;
  • whether interpretation can be a mitigation measure for archaeological site destruction;
  • challenging the idea that there is a correct way to interpret archaeological sites and the popular archaeological interpretations, which may take license with the historic “facts” are to be avoided;
  • developers using archaeological interpretation as a branding exercise;
  • the perception that interpretation is undertaken by experts to educate the general public, rather than by communities themselves (an attitude evident in the NSW Heritage Council Interpretation guidelines).

A number of examples of archaeological interpretation at Parramatta were highlighted in the discussion and so a walking tour of these sites was arranged a few weeks later. A number of ASHA members who hadn't come to the reading group joined us for the walking tour, which included: Parramatta Justice Precinct, where in situ remains and artefact displays are contained in an outdoor courtyard area and there are significant environmental issues that impact the visibility of the remains; sites in Smith Street which include interpretive signage, an artwork made using objects from the excavation and coloured street paving to represent former building footprints; and the very newly opened convict hut site at V By Crown in Macquarie Street, where a large area of in situ remains is visible underneath a new luxury apartment building, along with artefacts, signage and a video presentation of the excavation, conservation and interpretation of the site.


A convict hut site at V By Crown in Macquarie Street, where a large area of in situ remains is visible underneath a new luxury apartment building, along with artefacts, signage and a video presentation of the excavation, conservation and interpretation of the site. (Source: Caitlin Allen)

The next Sydney ASHA reading group event will be held on the 30th November on the topic of industrial archaeology and heritage. Please RSVP to secretary@asha.org.au if you would like to attend or require further details.



Rebekah Hawkins, Rhian Jones and Jane Rooke (Casey and Lowe)

It’s A Riot! - Celebrating strong women and their stories

On Friday 27 October Casey and Lowe were invited to join the Parramatta Female Factory Friends (PFFF) in their annual celebration of ‘It’s a Riot’ Day. It was a great honour to join in these celebrations and help tell just some of the stories marking 199 years (next year will be a big one) since the Factory was built.



Display table at ‘It’s a Riot’ day.

The Parramatta Female Factory was the first purpose built Factory in the colony, established as a place of assignment and of secondary punishment as well as a marriage bureau. It also included a hospital which was open to the women of the Factory and free settler women. In 1818 Governor Macquarie laid the first foundation stone, and three years later 112 convict women were transferred to the Factory. The number of women residing at the Factory increased dramatically throughout the 1830s and 1840s due to the large number of women transported from England and Ireland. By 1827 overcrowding, dissatisfaction with rations and declining living conditions led to possibly the first female workers’ riot in Australia. This riot was one of five that are known to have occurred at the factory, with many more occurring across the site during its time as an Asylum and Girl’s Reformatory. The Factory closed in 1848 and the site was converted into the Parramatta Lunatic Asylum.



Helen Ross FEIANZ, AJEM Editor

A major part of Australian and New Zealand identity is made up of our spirit and ingenuity, our heritage places, and our unique living landscapes. Heritage is a legacy from our past, a living, integral part of life today, and the stories and places we pass on to future generations.

The EIANZ has recently established a Heritage Special Interest Section. Its aim is to develop and promote knowledge about heritage as an essential element of the environment as well as to improve professional practice and recognition of heritage practitioners.

To further these aims, we are seeking to compile the first heritage special issue of the EIANZ journal, the Australasian Journal of Environmental Management (AJEM). The focus of the AJEM is on policy and practice, and we welcome submissions of abstracts on any aspect of these themes. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
* Is policy and practice in Australia and New Zealand effectively protecting heritage?
* Are our heritage practices adequate to interpret and conserve the past, to help us understand our environment, and to pass that legacy on to the future?
* Engagement of stakeholders in heritage
* Case studies of successful collaborative projects where heritage has been integrated with other environmental practice
* How would effective policy for Intangible heritage and heritage landscapes look?
* Multiple uses for heritage
* What is heritage anyway?

Submission Process:
Papers will be reviewed following the AJEM double‐blind review process. Expressions of interest to publish, along with an abstract, should be submitted to the guest editors, Richard Sharp FEIANZ CEnvP and Vanessa Hardy MEIANZ M.ICOMOS by 20 February 2018. Following acceptance of the EOI and abstract, full papers should be submitted by 30 August 2018 by online submission to the Australasian Journal of Environmental Management Scholar One Manuscripts. Papers should be prepared using the AJEM Guidelines. The guest editors welcome informal enquiries related to the proposed topics.



AACAI Victorian Chapter

The Victorian Chapter of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. invites you to celebrate the end of year with us. Join us for canapés and drinks at Hotel Spencer Bar & Grill at 475 Spencer Street, Melbourne on Friday 1 December, 6:30pm start. RSVP details to come.



Alison Frappell

The Australian Society for Historical Archaeology welcomes to Sydney Dr. Daniel Schávelzon (Director, Centre for Urban Archaeology, Argentina) and Dr. Patricia Frazzi (Specialist in the Conservation and Restoration of Archaeological Heritage) who have kindly agreed to meet with ASHA members on the evening of Friday 1st December 2017. ASHA extends a warm welcome to members of ICOMOS and the Nicholson Museum who would like join in.

Daniel and Patricia will give a presentation about their work discovering, preserving and sharing the Historical Archaeology of Buenos Aires and Argentina, including the evocative excavations of a probable Nazi Hideout in the remote jungle within Teyú Cuaré Park, Misiones, on the border with Paraguay, which recently attracted international media attention.

When: Friday 1 December 2017, doors open 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start
Where: The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre, Sydney Harbour YHA, 110 Cumberland Street, The Rocks
RSVP: This event is free, however seating is limited and we need to confirm numbers for catering. Please RSVP to secretary@asha.org.au

For more information about the two presenters, please see: http://abcnews.go.com/International/believed-nazi-hideout-argentina-discovered-archaeologists/story?id=29838180



Caiti D'Gluyas

The next ASHA reading group is being hosted by Artefact Heritage and will be held on Thursday 30th November at 6.00pm. This is a semi-regular (quarterly) opportunity to catch-up with other historical archaeologists and discuss themes of interest.

Facilitator: Adele ZubrzyckaSenior Heritage Consultant, Artefact Heritage
Topic: Industrial Archaeology and Heritage
Time and Location:
6pm, Thursday 30th November 2017
Artefact Heritage Offices (Level 4 Building B, 35 Saunders Street, Pyrmont)
There will be an Artefact Heritage Representative at the ground floor to allow you access to Level 4.

Primary Readings
Is Industrial Heritage greater than or equal to the Heritage of the Industrial Revolution? – Iain Stuart
Transplanted technologies and rural relics: Australian Industrial Archaeology and questions that matter – Eleanor Conlin Casella

Secondary Readings
Industrial Archaeology, from Industrial Heritage Re-tooled – Patrick Martin Process Recording at Industrial Sites – Brian Malaws
Engineering and Industrial Heritage – NSW OEH
Approaches to Industrial Archaeology in Australia, from Industrial Archaeology in Australia, Rural Industry – Judy Birmingham, Ian Jack and Dennis Jean

The event is free and open to anyone who is interested, however, RSVPs are essential (to secretary@asha.org.au). Please also get in touch if you are having difficulties sourcing the papers.



The Council of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation

The Inaugural Memorial Lecture in Honour of Emeritus Professor J Basil Hennessy (1925-2013), presented by the Council of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation, will be given by Dr Stephen Bourke on Wednesday 8th November, 2017. The event will take place at 6.30pm, in General Lecture Theatre 1 which is in the Main Quad of Sydney University, with light refreshments afterwards in the Nicholson Museum.

J. Basil Hennessy AO was Professor of Middle Eastern Archaeology (1970-1990) and Foundation Director of NEAF (1986-1991). After Undergraduate study at Sydney (1947-49), postgraduate research in the Middle East (1950-1952) and several years teaching at Sydney University (1953-61) under the legendary Jim Stewart, Hennessy read his Doctorate at Oxford (1962-64) before launching his field career in Jerusalem at British School Director (1965- 70).

He returned to Australia in 1970, and effectively re-instituted the teaching of Near Eastern Archaeology at Sydney University after a ten-year hiatus. He was confirmed as Edwin Cuthbert Hall Professor in 1973, and thereafter developed hugely influential courses in Levantine and Cypriot archaeology, which produced most of the current batch of Australian Near Eastern scholars active today. As well as his teaching, Hennessy directed two hugely important excavation projects in Jordan, the first at Chalcolithic Teleilat Ghassul (1975-77) and the second at the long-lived ancient city of Pella of the Decapolis (1978-90).

This first Memorial Lecture will celebrate Hennessy’s many achievements in the world of Near Eastern Archaeology, and call for the setting up of a Fund, administered through NEAF, to support the ongoing research and publication of the many works Hennessy set in train.

The inaugural lecture will be given by Dr. Stephen Bourke, current NEAF Treasurer and Director of the Pella Excavations since 1992. Stephen also led four seasons of renewed excavations at Teleilat Ghassul in the 1990s. The lecture will outline Hennessy’s life in Near Eastern Archaeology, from his first work in Turkey and Cyprus, to his seminal meeting with Kathleen Kenyon at Jericho in 1952, which shaped his life in arc

We hope that many of you can come and learn about the man who was the founder and driving force behind the establishment of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation.

Although this event is free we would greatly appreciate if you could RSVP your attendance for catering purposes: Phone +61 2 9351 4151, Fax +61 2 9114 0921, or Emmail neaf.archaeology@sydney.edu.au



Bronwyn Woff

Excavations of the Harrietville Chinese Mining site are currently being undertaken in Victoria's gold field region. The one of the project's staff members, Melissa Dunk, is putting together regular blog posts on her wordpress site called Overseas Chinese Archaeology. The blog can be found here: https://oschinesearch.wordpress.com/ and contains updates on the excavations and the behind the scenes activities.