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ASHA NEWS

 
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

Compiled by Blog Editor

A reminder to members that submissions for the ASHA journal Australasian Historical Archaeology are due on 31 March. For more information see: http://www.asha.org.au/submission-information.html

The Sydney Historical Archaeology Practitioners (SHAP) Workshop has also put out a call for sessions/papers for the event on 18th May 2018. For more information see: www.archaeologyweek.com/



Dr Jennifer Rodrigues

Call for papers: People and the sea: current research on maritime interactions between Southeast Asia and the wider world

Session Chairs:
Dr Jennifer Rodrigues, Western Australian Museum (Jennifer.Rodrigues@museum.wa.gov.au)
Ms Abhirada Pook Komoot, University of Western Australia (abhirada.komoot@research.uwa.edu.au)

The interconnections of two major Oceans—the Indian and Pacific Oceans—have dominated Southeast Asian maritime heritage for thousands of years, enabling movement of, and interaction between, people, ideas and goods. Confirmation of the relationship between Southeast Asia with other regions is evidenced in the dispersal of Austronesian languages, spoken widely in Southeast Asia. Due to the sea providing travel routes to distant regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the expansion of the languages suggests that people from Southeast Asia migrated to both sides—eastward to Oceania and Africa to the west. Furthermore, influences of maritime activities have spread beyond ports and maritime settlements. Research has revealed that mainland Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam also benefited from nautical skills through their complex riverine networks. Material traces from the hinterland and along coastal rims of both oceans, show that Southeast Asia has long been a dynamic region with an intense mix of cultures in its geographical crossroads. In ancient times, Southeast Asia was the only maritime gateway to China from the west. Research on maritime history in Southeast Asia, therefore, is crucial in defining the foundations of modern economic patterns.

This session welcomes researchers and young scholars from a wide range of fields and disciplines to share their work on Southeast Asia’s maritime past. It aims to gain, and discuss, new insight into the maritime history of the region’s connections with the wider world. Papers may include, but are not limited to, studies in material culture, traditional practices, and awareness-raising programmes through preservation and interpretation of the archaeological resources. Raising public awareness of the importance and potential of our maritime heritage can enrich our understanding of the past, and help forge cooperation and common ground for preserving and appreciating our shared heritage.

IPPA: Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association

Please send presentation abstract proposals (approx. 250 words) to both Session Chairs by end January 2018.



Stephanie Moore

I was lucky enough last month to attend the joint ASHA/Interpretation Australia conference in Tasmania. Being new to both the ASHA conference world, and Tassie itself, Iain kindly suggested I might be the best person to provide a ‘review’ of this conference at our next Archaeology at the Pub gathering.


I kindly obliged and prepared myself with a small presentation of images from the trip and some thoughts on the how the conference ran, what I enjoyed, and what I would do differently next time. I presented this to a small, but enthusiastic crowd at The Shakespeare Hotel; many of whom had been at the conference and were happy to share their thoughts with me. We all settled in with a schooner and the increasingly popular complementary wedges to relive the scenery and the event.


We all generally agreed that the conference was thoroughly enjoyable, and that the travelling element provided a unique and interesting approach. We felt that there could have been a few less papers on the bill, as the long days made for an exhausting week – and we felt terrible for the poor presenters who drew the short straw of last session for the day! The presentations were varied in subject matter and style, and provided a good balance between the two disciplines. The opportunity to discuss with, and learn from, colleagues in the Interpretation field was also valuable, allowing many of us to walk away with renewed enthusiasm. There was unanimous agreement that the Shene Estate Gin Distillery was a winner as far as destinations went (both for the heritage value and the sneaky gin tasting). Overall, when considering the phenomenal 11 destinations and countless papers that were packed into this year’s conference, I would say it was a roaring success.

We hope to see you next time for Happy Hour beers and a plate of wedges!



Bronwyn Woff

The ASHA Committee would like to thank everyone that attended the 2017 Travelling Stories conference! We hope that you had a fantastic time travelling through Tassie and experiencing all sorts of stories, and learning new ways of interpreting them.

A HUGE thank you goes out to the conference committee, from both ASHA and Interpretation Australia, who have put in an emmense amount of effort into this conference, to such great success!!

We would also like to congratulate Ian Smith on his Best Paper award for: Hikoi to hohi: archaeology, biculturalism and interpretation at Rangihoua Heritage Park, New Zealand

We look forward to our next conference in 2018 which will be in partnership with the Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology!