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Compiled by Blog Editor

A special edition of the International Journal of Historical Archaeology was published in March 2018, focusing on 'Marvellous Melbourne'. Volume 22, Issue 1 was edited by Susan Lawrence, Peter Davies and Jeremy Smith and can be found here: https://link.springer.com/journal/10761/22/1/page/1. The special issue contains 11 articles, as follows:

Introduction: The Archaeology of “Marvellous Melbourne” – Susan Lawrence, Peter Davies, Jeremy Smith

Bottle Merchants at A’Beckett Street, Melbourne (1875-1914): New Evidence for the Light Industrial Trade of Bottle Washing – Adrienne Ellis, Bronwyn Woff

Salvage Archaeology in Melbourne’s CBD: Reflections upon Documentary Sources and the Role of Prefabricated Buildings in Construction of the “Instant City” of Gold-Rush-Era Melbourne – Geoff Hewitt, Natalie Paynter, Meg Goulding, Sharon Lane, Jodi Turnbull, Bronwyn Woff

Reconstructing Landscape: Archaeological Investigations of the Royal Exhibition Buildings Western Forecourt, Melbourne – Janine Major, Charlotte Smith, Richard Mackay

The City Revealed: Reflections on 25 Years of Archaeology in Melbourne. Lessons from the Past and Future Challenges – Jeremy Smith

Langlands Iron Foundry, Flinders Street, Melbourne - Sarah Myers, Sarah Mirams, Tom Mallett

A Golden Opportunity: Mayor Smith and Melbourne’s Emergence as a Global City - Sarah Hayes

Melbourne: The Archaeology of a World City - Susan Lawrence, Peter Davies

Working-Class Consumer Behavior in “Marvellous Melbourne” and Buenos Aires, The “Paris of South America” – Pamela Ricardi

The Other Side of the Coin: Subsurface Deposits at the Former Royal Melbourne Mint – Ian Travers

Insights of Afro-Latin American Archaeology – Kathryn E Sampeck


Compiled by Blog Editor

Jeremy Smith, Principal Archaeologist at Heritage Victoria recently discussed the Wesley Church and Jones Lane excavation with ABC Saturday Breakfast Radio host Hilary Harper.

From the ABC Radio website: An archaeological dig on Lonsdale Street between Russell and Exhibition has shone a window into life in pre-Gold Rush era Melbourne, showing it was more diverse and vibrant than we might have imagined. Jeremy Smith, principal archaeologist for Heritage Victoria, told Hilary Harper why there were whole houses sitting two metres under street level.

A recording of the interview can be found here: www.abc.net.au/radio/melbourne/



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/



Compiled by Blog Editor

A multi-million-dollar redevelopment of the Fremantle town centre has opened up an opportunity to excavate the remains of the early town of Fremantle. Archaeologists are interested in the history of the every day, and are also keen to find the remains of the orginal St. John's Church.
For more information see: www.abc.net.au/news



Compiled by Blog Editor

An excavation in Wellington has uncovered the remains of an early fort which once sat close to the shoreline, at approximately the level of current-day Bond Street in the city center. The remains, and those of early shops in the area are some of the first examples of European settlement at Wellington. For more information see: www.tvnz.co.nz



Compiled by Blog Editor

Recent excavations of the cellar of a Georgian coffeehouse in Cambridge, UK have uncovered many hundreds of artefacts related to the business and it's customers. The works took place ahead of building works by St John’s College, Cambridge. Archaeologist Craig Cessford, from Cambridge University’s archaeology unit stated that “coffeehouses were important social centres during the 18th century, but relatively few assemblages of archaeological evidence have been recovered and this is the first time that we have been able to study one in such depth" through the artefacts recovered, which ranged from tea and servingware to remnants of calves feet used to make jelly for patrons.

For more information, see: www.theguardian.com/science/



Compiled by Alison Frappell and Blog Editor

Recent excavations in Paramatta have revealed the remains of the basement of the historic Wheatsheaf Hotel which was built in 1801, and opened only 12 years after Sydney was settled by Europeans. The excavation also uncovered remnants of a wheelwrights workshop and convict cabin, and a bakery, as well as associated artefacts. The site is being preserved, with the a new high rise development above it altering designs to allow for public access to the site. For more information, see the below links:

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/

https://www.archaeology.org/news/

https://www.9news.com.au/national/

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/



Alison Frappell

On Friday 1 December 2017 we were pleased to welcome Prof Daniel Schávelzon and Dr Patricia Frazzi to The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre, following their afternoon tour of The Rocks with Dr Wayne Johnson. We were delighted that the Argentinian Consul-General in Sydney, Mr Hector Raul Pelaez, was also able to join us.


Prof Daniel Schávelzon, Dr Patricia Frazzi and Dr Wayne Johnson

Prof Schávelzon and Dr Frazzi gave our members a fascinating talk about their work on the excavations of a Nazi hideout or refuge complex (image below), deep in the jungle of what is now Teyú Cuaré Park, Misiones, in Argentina. Prof Schávelzon explored the complex of three main buildings and several ancillary buildings, noting how the buildings were constructed by local labour interpreting Germanic designs and construction methods.

Four garbage pits were excavated with thousands of artefacts found, dating the site to the 1940s - 1950s, as well as a collection of coins (image below) from various German-occupied European nations.

An intriguing pit, which initially the team thought may be a grave, showed evidence of burial of an object, a cubic metre in size, which at some later point was retrieved. A belt with a Spanish military buckle (image below) belonging to General Franco’s army, in use till 1975, was deliberately buried when the pit was refilled.

Prof Schávelzon explored how the lack of historical records was ameliorated by a wealth of local stories, including building materials being reused in local housing. However, he noted that some of those local memories turned out to be recollections from newspaper and magazine articles from 1976 when the site was rediscovered, and commented on how recent international media has picked out the storyline it finds most newsworthy. The practice of historical archaeology plays a very important role in better understanding such curious sites.


Dr Frazzi recounted how her team worked in very difficult conditions to conserve significant but extremely fragile artefacts (image above), showing the remarkable transformation of matted lumps of paper into a page of newspaper and a postcard of Hitler and Mussolini. Their careful research on unusual finds, such as a fragment of expensive lamp glass from Germany, was most impressive.

For those who weren’t able to make the talk a copy of the IJHA paper about the excavations is available here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10761-017-0442-1


Compiled by Richard Morrison

The 3rd field work season is to be undertaken by Dr Ash Lenton, ANU, for undergraduates from there but also from other Australian universities, 5-28 January 2018. It is to focus, as in previous seasons, on the investigation of a military barracks which serviced the adjacent Maria Island convict settlement in the 1840’s. Run by: School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Research School of Humanities & the Arts, ANU College of Arts and the Social Sciences, ANU.

For more information please see:
https://facebook.com/TriabunnaBarracks.Dig/     
http://archanth.cass.anu.edu.au/triabunna-barracks

Twitter #TriabunnaBarracks




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.