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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 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 Richard Morrison

As an ASHA promotional exercise, both of membership and historical archaeology, it was suggested that your regional representatives might organise a regional event and some measure of financial support might be available for this. As there is no strong Historical Archaeology base in the ACT - there is no tertiary teaching of it here in what is also a comparatively small region - it was considered prudent to explore the possibility of a joint event of some sort with the Canberra Archaeological Society (CAS) if we could find a mutually relevant theme and type of event.


The Q&A panel, L to R, Dr Michael Pearson AO, Dr Duncan Wright(ANU), Professor June Ross (UNE), Dr Tim Maloney (ANU) and Dr Tristen Jones (ANU), Maritime Rock Art Symposium, NMA,14/4/18. Photograph R Morrison.

The end result was a half day, contact-themed, free, public symposium which was held at the National Museum of Australia (NMA) during the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival. This drew a crowd of about 50, including archaeology students, academics, consultants and the public, to hear five experts relate investigations of maritime contact rock art across Australia, starting with Dr Michael Pearson AO, setting the scene by describing approaches to the identification of ships/boats found in Australian rock art. Case studies then followed in papers presented and/or written by academics from ANU, UNE and UWA. This was rounded off with a Q&A panel of all speakers. It is expected that the speakers' presentations will eventually be loaded on the CAS website.

The success of this event has encouraged CAS to suggest a joint event with ASHA be an annual activity.

 


Written by the AIMA/ASHA 2018 Conference Committee

Come see all the research that’s been hiding!
Come hear all the results that haven’t seen the light of day!
Come and listen to all the wondrous things people have done in the past!

Welcome to the 2018 AIMA/ASHA conference, proudly brought to you by University of New England!

The Clearinghouse is all about dusting off that old research and getting it out into the light. It’s time for the honours thesis you did ten years ago to be presented, that project you did in that in-between year to show itself, and for the “I really should do something with that” to finally have something done with it…by presenting at this year’s AIMA/ASHA conference 27-28 September 2018.

Just to be clear, we want genuine research and good presentations, not a slide show of your summer holidays. For this reason we’re keeping the themes as broad as we can. Fear not if you don’t think your research fits in, we want you to submit your abstract anyway and we’ll find a place for it!

We are looking forward to seeing you in Parramatta!

The Clearinghouse Conference Details:
When: 27 - 29 September 2018
Where: UNE Campus Parramatta

For more information on: Call for papers, Draft Conference schedule, Registration and Conference sponsors please see: http://www.asha.org.au/2018-asha-aima-conference


Written by Richard Morrison

An inaugural, joint, free Maritime Contact Rock Art Symposium between the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology and the Canberra Archaeological Society will be held at the beginning of the 2018 Canberra and Region Heritage Festival at the National Museum of Australia. This event will be help on 14th April 2018, between 9.30am and 12.00pm.

The symposium will comprise a series of illustrated presentations and stories by rock art experts and other archaeologists describing investigations into a range of depictions, found across Australia, of European and other sea craft encountered by Aboriginal Australians. This will be followed by a Q&A panel. (See programme below.)

Bookings can be made at https://maritimecasasha.eventbrite.com.au


Written by the SHAP committee

Sydney Historical Archaeology Practitioners’ (SHAP) Workshop is running on 18 May 2018. The theme of this year’s Workshop is: The Role of Archaeology in Heritage Conservation. Submissions for sessions and papers have been extended to 22 April so if you have not yet submitted your abstract we would love to hear from you! Please send it to admin@extent.com.au or email us for more info. Abstracts only need to be 150 words and presentations are short – 15 minutes with question time at the end.

Tickets for the SHAP Workshop are now also on sale at https://shap2018.eventbrite.com.au – head over to reserve your spot now as places are limited! Tickets are $33 for students, $66 for ASHA/AAA/AACAI/ICOMOS members and $88 for general entry, including food and drinks.

Written by Richard Morrison

A joint half-day event with the Canberra Archaeological Society and ASHA will be held at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, on Saturday 14 April 2018 in ACT Region Heritage Week. Speakers will include Professor Sue O’Connor (ANU), Dr Mike Pearson AO, Professor June Ross (UNE), Dr Tristen Jones (ANU) and Dr Duncan Wright (ANU). There will be a Q&A panel of the speakers at the end of the talks. For more information please see: https://maritimecasasha.eventbrite.com.au