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ASHA NEWS

Written by Caiti D'Gluyas

The next ASHA reading group is being hosted by Casey and Lowe and will be held on 22nd March. This is a semi-regular (quarterly) opportunity to catch-up with other historical archaeologists and discuss themes of interest.

Topic: Historical Artefacts
Facilitator: Robyn Stocks, Senior Artefact Specialist, Casey and Lowe
Location: Casey and Lowe Offices, 51 Reuss Street, LEICHHARDT NSW 2040
Time: 6pm, Thursday 22nd March 2017

Primary Readings
Davies, P. 2005 ‘Writing Slates and Schooling in Victoria’, Australasian Historical Archaeology 23:63-69.
Gojak, D. & I. Stuart 1999 ‘The Potential for the Archaeological Study of Clay, Tobacco Pipes from Australian Sites’, Australasian Historical Archaeology 17:38-49.
Klippel, W.E. & G.F. Schroedl 1999 ‘African slave craftsmen and single-hole bone discs from Brimstone Hill, St Kitts, West Indies’, Post-Medieval Archaeology 33:22–232.

Secondary Readings
Varman, R.V.J. 1993 Bricks and Nails: Building Materials as Criteria for Dating in Sydney and Environs from 1788, A Documentary Survey and Assessment of Dating Potential, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Sydney. Available online at https://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/handle/2123/1205

Contact secretary@asha.org.au if you are finding it difficult to find the readings.

The event is free and open to anyone who is interested, however, RSVPs are essential (to secretary@asha.org.au), so please get in touch if you would like to come!




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.



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.



Caiti D'Gluyas

The first ASHA reading group will be taking place this Thursday! Please RSVP to secretary@asha.org.au if you would like to attend.

ASHA is initiating a reading group for historical archaeologists in Sydney!

This is a semi-regular (quarterly) opportunity to catch-up with other historical archaeologists and discuss themes of interest. The venue, topic and facilitator will change with each event. There will be opportunities to start similar events in other places once we get going.

The first topic is 'Historical Archaeological Interpretation', in preparation for the upcoming conference, with Abi Cryerhall as this topic's facilitator. This event will be held on Thursday 24 August, 6pm, at GML Heritage (Level 6, 372 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills).

Primary reading (please read this one as a priority):

McManamon, F, Archaeological Messages and Messengers in The Heritage Reader, Fairclough, G, 2008.

Additional readings:

Heritage Council of NSW, Heritage Information Series - Heritage Interpretation Policy.

Lewis, K, 2000, Imagination and Archaeological Interpretations: A Methodological Tale, Historical Archaeology, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 7-9.

Ireland, T, 2016, Up Close and Personal: Feeling the Past at Urban Archaeological Sites, Public History Review, Vol 23, pp. 43-55.

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. Expressions of interest for the next venue, topic and facilitator are also welcome.