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Compiled by Blog Editor

There have been no submissions for Artefact of the Month recieved this month (email blog@asha.org.au if you would like to submit for the June edition!) however I've come across a great blog from our North American friends: The American Artifacts Blog!

This blog "is a media outlet featuring artifact-related digital content from U.S. and Canadian archaeologists. [You can use] the blog to search, explore and learn about North American history through material culture." The artefacts featured include both historic and pre-historic time periods, and are provided by archaeologists across the region.

For more see: https://americanartifactsblog.com/

Written by Dr Christine Williamson, Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants

In 2016 Extent Heritage were engaged by the Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliament of Victoria to undertaken excavations within the grounds of Victoria’s Parliament House. This location includes the site of the former St Peter’s Diocesan Grammar School (H7822-2339), which was constructed in 1849. The excavations yielded a collection of 10122 artefacts, among which were 18 pieces of at least two glass target balls. Unfortunately, these pieces were recovered from unstratified contexts that include materials deposited with nightsoil that was dumped across much of inner Melbourne in the late 19th century and therefore cannot be definitively tied to on-site activities. However, in and of themselves, they are interesting objects.


PLATE 1: Some of the Parliament House target ball fragments (Supplied: Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants).

The target balls are made of cobalt-blue glass, are 65mm in diameter and have a grid pattern on the surface. The items are round, with the exception of a protruding opening (Plate 1 above). They have been created by blowing glass into a 2-piece mould with the rough lip on the opening formed when the glass was broken away from the blowpipe. The raised pattern on the surface of the balls was designed to prevent shot from ricocheting off the smooth ball (Kerr nd). Unlike the complete items illustrated in Plate 2 below, the Parliament House artefacts do not have a maker’s mark. The style of the Parliament House balls is the same as ‘an extremely rare ball’ that was made in Australia (targetballs.com, Plate 3 below). I have not been able to find any information on Australian glass target ball manufacturers, other than Frederick Bolton Hughes of the South Australian Glass Bottle Company. He made glass target balls between 1896 and 1913, but his items are embossed with his initials ( pssatrap.org).


PLATE 2: A collection of glass target balls (peachridgeglass.com).


PLATE 3: Australian-made glass target ball (targetballs.com).

Glass target balls, in a range of bright colours that would be easily visible as they were launched into the sky, were manufactured from about the 1860s until the end of the 19th century, with their main period of use between 1875 and 1885 (antiquebottles.com; glassbottle marks.com; peachridgeglass.com). At the height of their popularity, the Bohemian Glass Works in New York City produced 1.2 million glass target balls in a six-month period, each of which sold for just over a penny (Finch ndb).


PLATE 4: Target ball trap (peachridgeglass.com)


PLATE 5: Target ball trap (targetballs.com)

The ‘invention’ of glass target ball shooting is credited to Charles Portlock of Boston, who organised the first competitive glass target shoots in in 1867 (Kerr nd). The glass balls were hailed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as an invention that ‘supersedes the necessity of inflicting pain and suffering to pigeons hitherto used by marksmen as a medium for obtaining accuracy of aim’ (Henry Berg letter dated 7/8/1876 in Finch nda) and one patent trap was named ‘The Pigeon’s Friend’. The early traps were of limited popularity as they simply threw the ball straight up into the air. However, in 1877 a trap was patented that cast the balls in a 60-foot-long arc and other patents soon followed (Kerr nd, plates 4 and 5 above). By the late 19th century glass target balls were rapidly replaced with clay targets that were considered safer as they did not lead to large amounts of broken glass falling from the sky and scattering across the ground.

However, glass target balls remained popular in shooting competitions, exhibitions, circuses and Wild West shows. The ‘Ira Paines’ Filled Ball’, popularised by shooter Ira Paines, was filled with feathers and powder so that when the ball broke apart it resembled a bird being shot (Kerr nd). Annie Oakley is said to have filled her glass balls with streamers that burst from the item when it broke apart (Meyer 2012). The balls were also used as a solid, curved surface for darning socks on and for teething babies (Finch ndb) and were sometimes repurposed as Christmas decorations (glassbottlemarks.com).


Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants

Extent Heritage

References
Finch, R. nda Who’s on First? Portlock, Paine, Moreson? www.targetballs.com
Finch, R. ndb. What are Target Balls? www.targetballs.com
Kerr, A. nd. For Fun, Sure as Shooting – Target Balls Hit the Mark. www.traphof.org
Meyer, F. 2012. Target Glass, Glass Made to Be Broken www.peachridgeglass.com



Written by Nadia Bajzelj

Excavations at the Wesley Church precinct were carried out by Dr. Vincent Clark and Associates in 2017, a site which is located between Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale streets in the Melbourne CBD. The residences at Jones Lane were brick houses with bluestone footings, ranging in size from two to four rooms.

This month’s ‘Artefact of the Month’ was found in one of the residences along Jones Lane, which ran between Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale streets. This masonic stickpin, which is a decorative pin used to secure men’s cravats or neck ties. Stickpins generally date from the early 19th century, and though the date for this one is still being pinned down, it is dated to broadly between the late 19th and early 20th century.

This stick pin is 76mm in length and is made from copper alloy, delicately shaped in twisted ropes around a clear oval piece of glass. The glass has a thin veneer of shell over the top, cut into the Masonic symbol of a square and compass. The motif is interesting as our background research on the site shows a number of different businesses, but none related to stone masons. The analysis of the artefacts from the site is still in progress, so our knowledge of the site at this stage is still preliminary, but we hope that we can research the inhabitants of this residence and identify any members of the Masonic Lodge.

For more information see: http://vincentclark.com.au/2017/05/jones-lane-historical-archaeology/



Jeanne Harris,Urban Analysts

In 1872 Hiram Codd patented his famous aerated water bottle with its unique internal marble stopper. Once opened the bottle’s ingeniously designed neck kept the marble from obstructing the flow of liquid. But have you ever wondered how a Codd bottle was opened in the first place?

Figure 1 Wooden Codd Bottle Opener (Courtesy: https://www.quora.com/There-was-a-harsh-drink-in-India-with-a-ball-in-the-glass-bottle-that-they-called-Soda-What-is-it)

Most people simple used their finger to push the marble into the bottle, but this necessitated clean hands and often resulted in sore fingers. Fortunately, Codd also developed a bottle opener especially designed to open his bottles. Copied and modified by others, bottle openers for Codd bottles were primarily made from wood, such as boxwood or sycamore (Figure 1) and were more rarely made of glass (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Glass Codd Bottle Opener (Courtesy E. Jeanne Harris)

This type of opener is often referred to as a “codswallop” - a term used to mean nonsense. Wordsmiths suggest that the term is derived from ‘cod’s wallop’, meaning ‘bad beer’, but since the first documented use of codswallop was 1959, it is more probable that it is a term adopted by 20th -century bottle collectors (Chapman, 1992, p.56).

References:
Chapman, Raymond 1992 “One's vocabulary considerably increased”, English Today. Volume 32 October 1992, Cambridge Press, p 56.



Bronwyn Woff

This month’s Artefact of the Month an interesting looking bulk ink bottle with multiple impressed marks found on its body and base. This bottle was found on a historic excavation in the north of Melbourne’s CBD. It was excavated during works for a multi-story apartment building, from a c1850s+ light industrial site.


The ink bottle is made from stoneware, with a light brown salt glaze, and has an unusual square-shaped finish and spout. It stands 205mm tall, and has a diameter of 90mm. The bottle is well marked, with two makers marks (17 / DOULTON / LAMBETH and 3 / DOULTON / LAMBETH) on the base and on the body near the base respectively, as well as a registration diamond (IV / 28 / 9 Rd V / W) representing 28 March 1876 on the body near the base.

The two Doulton / Lambeth marks on the base and body of the bottle indicate that it was made by Doulton & Co. The company began as a partnership in the early 1800s, and worked from a pottery in Lambeth. From 1854 the company became Doulton and Co, and began using marks similar to those seen on this artefact. The company was granted a Royal Warrant in 1901, and from 1902 began adding ‘Royal’ to their mark, as well as a crown and lion (http://thepotteries.org/allpotters/356.htm).


Registration diamond marks such as these were used to denote that the design of an object, or the design of the decoration (for example, ceramic or textile patterns) were copyrighted to the designer. The diamond itself notes the date that the registration occurred, and therefore marks only a start date for that object. For more information on registration diamonds on ceramics, see A. Brooks An Archaeological Guide to British Ceramics in Australia 1788-1901 2005:74 which was published by The Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology and The La Trobe University Archaeology Program (although out-of-print, the complete book is available as a download for all current ASHA members through the members portal HERE).



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



Zvonka Stanin

These trousers are some of the more complete textiles items recovered during the 2017 Alpha Archaeology excavation of the former Carlton United Brewery (CUB2) complex in Swanston Street, Carlton. When excavated, they appeared to be sandwiched between wooden floor boards and a mid-19th century cesspit deposit. Their original condition, was described by the CUB2 conservator Jeff Fox as a ‘mass of unidentified textile covered in mud. Unable to determine form/shape’.


The conservation process which included wet cleaning, immersion by an ultrasonic bath, and freeze drying, separated the textile mass into a more recognisable pattern of garment components. These include front and back ‘trouser’ panels with folded edges that appeared to have been once stitched and before being unpicked. All the major panels appear to be made of a coarse brown and black cotton or wool material, woven tightly on the weft. Thick, horizontal lines are barely apparent on each panel; whether this fading is due to use or taphonomic conditions has yet to be determined. Button holes and matching button imprints on different pieces confirm that the trousers were once more complete.


By tracing individual fragments to create a working canvas mock-up, we were able to show how the trouser panels were placed together, with a front ‘panel’ buttoning onto an underlying waistband which was also buttoned, most likely by four-hole sew through bone or wooden buttons which were common types at the CUB2. The back panel creates exceptional room, in a fit that is otherwise tall and slim, and a good example of the style of construction not commonly discussed in Australian archaeological literature: the ‘fall front‘, ‘drop front fall’, ‘flap pants’ style of men’s pants. The style is understandably associated with convenience; the pattern allows the ‘fall’ to be opened without necessarily unfastening the waistband (or ‘drop your trousers’). A narrower version of the fall (narrow fall) seems to have been the dominant style for breeches, pantaloons, trousers, and overalls from the French Revolution (1790) until the 1840s, when the centre button closure became more common. The ‘broad fall’ style of the CUB2 example, where the ‘fall’ stretches from hip to hip, may have been introduced later (http://www.northwestjournal.ca/VI6, sourced 10/10/2017, but see the Met pants below).


Analysis of the CUB2 trousers so far hints at a manifold significance. The combination of the ‘broad fall’ style and striped fabric appears to have few publicly known comparisons (see for example, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/79497?rpp=20&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Trousers&pos=17, sourced 10/10/2017). The striped design is reminiscent of the popular taste for patterns in ‘gentleman’s’ fashion of the 1850s and early 1860s, the period that coincides with the Victorian gold rush; and all that it entails. It counters any expectations of ‘dullness’ and ‘conformity’, typical of the latter 19th and early 20th century city clothing for men - all dark colours and creased trousers - and even widens the gaze past those numerous S. T. Gills’ paintings, with their whimsy neckerchiefs at the centre. Can the paintings tell us what kind of man wore these? Broader fashion discourse tells us to ‘go easy’. Through the interplay of economic wealth, and contact between large numbers of people of different classes, social or other standing during this period, fashion became much less of a marker of status than previously known; or than continued in England or Europe (Maynard 1994). The trousers do indicate care and re-use, through the effort it would have taken to unpick all the seams and button holes, which may suggest that both the pattern and material continued to be important.

The brief mock-up experiment was a collaborative effort between Allison Bruce (La Trobe), Olivia Arnold (UNE), Felicity Buckingham and myself. The latter can be contacted on felicitybuckingam@yahoo.com or zstanin50@gmail.com

Images by Z Stanin:
1 Trouser fabric recovered in association with cesspit deposits from CUB2. The right half shows the back of the trousers most completely.
2 The front trouser panels, with the blue marker showing the position of the button holes.
3 The front trouser panels, not including the lining for the ‘fall’ (see image 1). Note that the pockets were more likely under the ‘fall’ as in image 2.

References:
Maynard, Margaret 1994, Fashioned from penury: dress as cultural practice in colonial Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge [England]; New York
http://www.northwestjournal.ca/VI6, sourced 10/10/2017.
https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/79497?rpp=20&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Trousers&pos=17, sourced 10/10/2017



Caiti D'Gluyas

One of the most significant finds from the 2002 Casselden Place, Melbourne, archaeological investigations (50 Lonsdale Street) was a medal struck to commemorate the Cessation of Convict Transportation (see images below, source: GML Heritage). The medal commemorates not only the victory of the anti-transportation movement but also the 50th anniversary of the founding of Tasmania on 10th August 1853.

The medal's design was approved by the Anti-Transportation League committee in 1853 before being fabricated in England. The medals finally arrived in Australia for distribution in 1855. The medal features James Wyon's portrait of Queen Victoria on one side, with the reverse showing the armorial bearings for Tasmania in a shield. James Wyon was a resident engraver at the Royal Mint and is best known for engraving the dies for sovereigns and half-sovereigns at the new Sydney branch of the Royal Mint. The shield is quartered by the Southern Cross and bears pastoral, commercial and agricultural emblems supported by the emu and kangaroo, surmounted by a rising sun motif.

The medal was cast in three different metals. One single medal was struck in gold for presentation to Queen Victoria, 100 were struck in bronze for committee members and 9000 were struck in white metal for general distribution. The medal recovered from Casselden Place appears to be a bronze issue. Many of the white metal medals went to Tasmanian school children. At the cessation celebrations, each child was given a piece of cake and a ticket enabling them to receive a medal, once they had arrived in the colony. On 3 August 1855, 9000 medals arrived in Launceston and 4000 were immediately dispatched to Hobart. Another 3000 were held in Launceston and 2000 were distributed to Green Ponds, Norfolk Plains, Ross, Evandale, Longford and other country districts.

The medal is now in the collection of Museum Victoria as part of a set of archaeological assemblages from the ‘Little Lon’ precinct. The most recent and concluding historical archaeological excavation at ‘Little Lon’ was undertaken between April and July 2017 for the 271 Spring Street development. An interpretation scheme for this excavation is currently being prepared by GML Heritage and will draw together the multiple phases of archaeological investigation that has occurred within the precinct. The medal provides an opportunity to interpret a fascinating story about ‘the hated stain’ of transportation.

References:
McNeice, R 1990, Tasmanian commemorative medals and medallions 1853–1900: A collector's handbook, Taroona.
Mint Issue September 2003, Royal Australia Mint.



Felicity Buckingham

These thin, plastic discs were recovered from a yard context in Lot 61 during the 2016 excavation of the old CUB complex, near the corner of Swanston and Queensberry streets, Melbourne. The above image shows record CUB2 11317 (scale in cm).

Tentatively interpreted as being promotional material (possibly badge blanks, based on size and shape), they read “MISS AUSTRALIAN AIR LEAGUE 1950” and include the Air League emblem of a winged shield. Small oxidized holes are present on all examples and may indicate they were held together by a pin or similar.


Multiple ‘blanks’, including CUB2 11317 (bottom, centre)

Originally named the ‘Air Mindedness Development League’, the Australian Air League (hereafter the ‘League’) was established in 1934 to promote “an interest in aviation both as a career or as a hobby in the youth of Australia”, and “to provide opportunities to develop good citizenship, teamwork and to develop ingenuity and resourcefulness of members” (https://www.airleague.com.au/about/history).

In September 1950, the League sponsored Miss Patricia Sheales, a 20 year old hair salon receptionist (Age, 12 Sep 1950, p. 1), as a contestant in the Miss Victoria quest (Age, 11 Sep 1950, p. 5). These blanks embody the hope that Patricia would go through to the national competition. Patricia then made a number of public appearances, including the League’s annual parade (Age, 2 Oct 1950, p. 4), the Caulfield races (Age, 23 Oct 1950, p. 8), and a ball (Argus, 2 Dec 1950, p. 8), as well as appearing in several promotional pieces of editorial, such as the image below of several Miss Victoria entrants (Advocate, 16 Dec 1950, p. 3).


Pat Sheales (back row, centre) and other Miss Victoria contestants (Advocate, 16 Dec 1950, p. 3)

Unfortunately, Patricia didn’t win the Victorian competition. However, no Miss Australia was crowned at all in 1950 (Age, 24 Feb 1951, p. 3), due to a dispute regarding the chaperone assigned to the previous year’s winner for her international tour (West Australian, 15 Apr 1950, p. 10). Formerly Miss NSW, the NSW branch of the competition backed the decision, and withheld finances unless another chaperone was appointed - the result being the cancellation of said tour outright, and the discontinuation of the competition until 1953.

These blanks were chosen for the light they shed on the youth organisations and popular culture of mid twentieth-century Australia, as well as for the questions they ask about the site. How was the League, the Miss Australia competition, or Patricia Sheales related to Lot 61? If these blanks were promotional items, they were not needed after the Miss Victoria competition in December 1950, and their yard location could suggest they were simply thrown away, and may not have any further relation to the site. Analysis is ongoing, and will hopefully help to answer some of these questions.

Felicity Buckingham, along with Zvonka Stanin, is currently analysing artefacts from the latest CUB dig for Alpha Archaeology, and can be contacted at felicitybuckingham@yahoo.com




Fiona Shanahan

The bombing of Darwin in February 1942 resulted in the establishment of 10 main airbases with two additional satellite bases for each main base in Australia’s Northern Territory. Coomalie was one of Batchelor’s satellite airbases and was home to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadrons 31 and 87 (87 was born from No. 1 Photo Reconnaissance Unit at Coomalie). 87 Squadron was a photoreconnaissance unit that flew Mosquito aircraft.

The F–52 camera was a World War II British photoreconnaissance camera and the Coomalie Mosquitos were fitted with these advanced cameras for the duration of the war.

There was only one fatal aircraft crash at Coomalie for the entire war. It occurred in August 1945, resulting in the death of pilot Gillespie and serious burns to navigator Haynes. The aircraft crash occurred due to the aircraft suddenly veering off the airstrip during take-off (Mosquitos were prone to do this on occasion). The aircraft then flipped and caught fire.The crashed aircraft was cleared away with a bulldozer and dumped in the Coomalie Creek.


Image courtesy: Imperial War Memorial (CH 10845)

In the mid 2000s the current owner of the airbase, Richard, located a ‘frosted crystal like object, the size of a fist’ (pictured above, image courtesy: Shanahan 2013) at the site of the Gillespie Mosquito accident. Considering the location of the find and the size of the item, Richard asked a geologist to test its lead content. The results of the examination confirmed it was most likely the F–52 camera lens as it contained the expected 7% lead found in lens from the time. Upon further inspections of the crash site and the Coomalie Creek the severely burnt back casing of the F–52 camera was located.

This find not only adds to the ever evolving narrative and living history of the airbase, but it is a physical item that the Gillespie family have been able to connect with (Gillespie’s family are heavily involved with the living history at Coomalie).

If you would like to know more about the site or the F–52 lens please send an email to shanahanparker@gmail.com.