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ASHA NEWS

 

 
Author: Nadia Bajzelj,Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants

In 2019, GML Heritage Pty Ltd (GML) were engaged by ISPT Pty Ltd (ISPT) to undertake an historical archaeological investigation of 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. This location encompasses two sites listed on the Victorian Heritage Inventory (H7822-1024 and H7822-1025). The sites were used as domestic residences (1864-1918) before the construction of a Women’s VD Clinic (1918) and a Tuberculosis Bureau (1928) (GML 2019). The recovered artefact collection, comprising approximately 40,000 artefact fragments, was catalogued and analysed by Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants.

364-378 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne toilet wares

Photo 1: toilet wares from 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street (photograph by Grace Stephenson-Gordon, Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants)

The items pictured are ceramic artefacts relating to 19th-century hygiene practises. The majority of these items are chamber pots, but a chamber pot lid, wash basin and a brush box and lid were also identified. All are made from earthenware and decorated with transfer printed designs in black, blue, green and purple. These artefacts are from high significance contexts associated with the single-storey cottages of 366, 368 and 370 Little Lonsdale Street.

Concepts of hygiene during the 19th-century were evolving and changing dramatically from those of previous centuries. In earlier eras a link had been made between bathing and the spread of disease, but the people of the 19th-century began to see the relationship between cleanliness and disease prevention, with cleanliness becoming closely tied with a person’s respectability (Davidoff and Hall 2002: 382; Everleigh 2002: 65; Grigg 2008; Halliday 1999: 17). 'Cleanliness, like good manners became an indicator of respectability while dirt and squalor were seen as threats to moral as well as physical health' (Everleigh 2002: 65). Having a full toilet service was therefore highly desirable for 19th-century homes, and would have included items such as the chamber pot (possibly with a cover), large and small wash basins and ewers, a covered soap box with drainer, a covered sponge bowl, a covered toothbrush box or toothbrush vase, a foot bath and many additional extras (Copeland 2000: 24).

The chamber pots excavated from 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street represent the most common hygiene items recovered from 19th-century domestic sites. Chamber pots were stored under the bed or in a nightstand. When looking at the alternative toilet solution of the 19th-century – the water closet – which was located outside the house, the usefulness of the chamber pot is obvious. The chamber pot was a convenient option when needing to use the toilet in the middle of the night as it did not necessitate trudging outside in the cold and dark. In the morning, the pot would be emptied and cleaned and the waste disposed of. But wouldn’t this smell be rather overwhelming when you went back to bed? Yes, strangely enough human waste was no better then, than it is now. In order to minimise odours, chamber pots were usually (but not always) covered with pieces of cloth, newspapers, or a chamber pot lid (as pictured).

364-378 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne toilet wares

Photo 2: chamber pot with lid from 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street (photograph by Grace Stephenson-Gordon, Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants)

REFERENCES
COPELAND, R. 2000: Ceramic Bygones and other unusual domestic pottery. A Shire Book. Great Britain.
DAVIDOFF, L. and C. HALL 2002: "'My own fireside': the creation of the middle-class home." Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class 1780-1850. Revised Edition. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 357-396.
EVELEIGH, D.J. 2002: Bogs, Baths and Basins: The Story of Domestic Sanitation. Stroud, England: Sutton.
GML 2019: 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Historical Archaeological Research Design. Report to Case Meallin Pty Ltd & ISPT Pty Ltd.
GRIGG, T. 2008: Health & Hygiene in Nineteenth Century England in Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/1615, accessed 02 May 2019.
HALLIDAY, S. 1999: The Great Stink of London: Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Capital. Sutton Publishing Ltd, England.

 

Queen Street umbrella components picture 1 
Queen Street umbrella components picture 2
Author: Bronwyn Woff

Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants

A group of umbrella/parasol fragments were recovered from the site of 1-5 Queen Street, Melbourne (H7822-1871) during excavations undertaken by Extent Heritage in 2018.

The site’s European history (Clark et al. 2019) starts in 1837, beginning with Pitman’s Store (a small building from which Frederick Pittman, a key trader of early Melbourne, ran a store) and a residence set back from the street. This was followed by a candle and soap works factory (Rae, Dickson & Co), which occupied the site from the 1840s to 1872. This factory then demolished, and a new building housing a range of shipping-related businesses was constructed in 1872. In 1911, the building was purchased by the Mercantile Mutual Insurance Company and was used as their Victorian headquarters until the 1950s. In 1955, the building was purchased by Fletcher Jones & Co for a retail store and was used for this purpose until 2011 (Clark et al, 2019).

The artefact collection was catalogued by Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants, and included a total of 6674 artefact fragments. Of particular interest were a group of artefacts excavated from what was interpreted by the excavators as a filtering tank, possibly for lye leeching, which is part of the candle making process. The artefacts recovered from the tank represent a one-off fill event, which most likely occurred at the time of the closing and abandonment of the candle and soap factory and before the new structures were constructed in 1872. The artefacts were probably deposited in the late 1860s or early 1870s, as none of the artefact manufacturing start dates are later than 1870 (Woff, Williamson & Biagi, 2019).

Queen Street umbrella components picture 3

Photo 1: Umbrella/parasol fragments from 1-5 Queen Street, Melbourne (Image supplied: Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants)

The tank context contained an interesting group of artefacts, which included nine fragments of composite umbrella/parasol stretchers (representing eight complete umbrella/parasol stretchers, enough for one complete umbrella/parasol) and three fragments of organic/wooden umbrella ribs, which were round in profile. The context also contained a large quantity (n=278) of textile fragments, which have at least three different weave styles, some of which may be associated with the umbrella/parasol (Woff, Williamson & Biagi, 2019).  

Parts of an umbrella

Photo 2: Parts of an umbrella (Image from: https://www.goinginstyle.com/blogs/news/parts-of-an-umbrella )

Umbrellas are multi-part objects, and a simple umbrella/parasol can include up to 112 different parts (Hooper 2016: 30-31). These parts can be made from a range of materials including, but not limited to: wood, textiles, metals, baleen and ivory (Hooper 2016: 1). Our fragments are comprised of a range of materials. The stretchers are composite, made from iron alloy, copper alloy and a wood-like organic material. The ribs are made from the same wood-like organic material, which may be cane or a similar material. Hooper suggests that baleen “was the primary material used for ribs until 1852” when steel ribs were invented that were much lighter and stronger (2016: 8), however, both materials were shaped to be flat or rectangular in section (Hooper 2016: 8), whereas our fragments are round. The textiles recovered from this context were not obviously related to an umbrella or parasol by style or construction, but some may be associated with the umbrella fragments recovered.

fashion plate

Photo 3: Fashion plate showing umbrella (Image from: https://vintagedancer.com/victorian/lace-victorian-parasol-and-umbrellas-for-sale/ )

The terms umbrella and parasol were used interchangeably in 19th century advertising (Hooper 2016: 24 – 30). These items were seen as “primarily public objects, used to shield their bearers from the elements encountered when venturing outside. These objects function in images as fashionable and practical tools, mediating the relationship between individuals and their rural or urban surroundings” (Hooper 2016: 166). Although the reason for the discard of this object is unknown, this group of artefacts links to ideas of fashion and domestic life, and provides a glimpse in to the fashions of early urban Melbourne in the 1860s.

References:

Clark, C, Douglas, P, Petkov, B & Rubio Perez, R 2019. 1–5 Queen Street, Melbourne (H7822-1871) Historical Archaeological Excavation Report HV #4930. Prepared by Extent Heritage for Hutchinson Builders.

Hooper, R 2016. Out of the shade: uncovering the manufacture and use of umbrellas and parasols, 1830 -1840. Masters Thesis submitted for the University of Delaware.

Woff, B, Williamson, C & Biagi, C 2019, Artefact Report 1 – 5 Queen Street, Melbourne (H7822-1871). Prepared for Extent Heritage

Going in Style 2017, Parts of an umbrella, image, Going In Style, viewed 12 Februaru 2020 < https://www.goinginstyle.com/blogs/news/parts-of-an-umbrella >

Buck, A, 1961, Fashion plate showing umbrella, image, Vintage Dancer, viewd 13 February 2020 < https://vintagedancer.com/victorian/lace-victorian-parasol-and-umbrellas-for-sale/ >

 

Written by Catherine Tucker and Bronwyn Woff

In August and September ASHA hosted two workshops in Melbourne that were a great success!

The workshops were a beginners guide to historic artefact identification, and conservation basics for archaeologists.

Both events were fully booked with 40 attendees, and waiting lists for extra places.

Dr Christine Williamson, Bronwyn Woff and Holly Jones-Amin presented respectively on ceramic artefacts, glass bottle basics and in-field conservation first aid.

We would like to thank Heritage Victoria and their staff for the use of the Artefact Centre and the archaeological collections as well as their assistance in helping with the events.

If you would like to suggest or help organise ASHA events in your region, contact events@asha.org.au


 
Written by Megan Liddicoat | Policy Offer | Climate Change Division Energy, Environment and Climate Change | Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Victoria Unearthed: updated with more data and better usability.

Victoria Unearthed is an easy to use interactive map which brings together environmental and historical information. It has been developed by the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) and Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) to help users investigate potential and existing contamination of land and groundwater.

The historical business information in Victoria Unearthed includes over half a million historical business records dating back to the 1890s, digitised for the first time as part of this project. These come from Sands and McDougall directories (Victoria’s original 'phone books') and can provide clues on where past business activity may have resulted in legacy contamination. The information included in Victoria Unearthed is derived from directories published around every 10 years between 1896 and 1974 and involves only information listed in the trades and business directories – not the residential sections.

The environmental information in Victoria Unearthed includes several EPA datasets: sites with EPA licences, sites on EPA’s Priority Sites Register (locations with known environmental issues), groundwater restrictions, planning overlays of potential or identified contamination (environmental audit overlays), and the location of past and present landfills.

For specialist users, all this data is also being made available in spatial formats through DataVic or Spatial Datamart.

You can find out more about Victoria Unearthed at www.environment.vic.gov.au/victoria-unearthed and access the map via mapshare.vic.gov.au/victoriaunearthed

Asha events
Written by AHA Editors

Volume 36 of Australasian Historical Archaeology was mailed to members in January. The issue is the first of the new editorial team of Annie Clarke, Penny Crook, James Flexner and Sarah Hayes and showcases a range of papers on historical archaeology in Australia–Pacific region.

The issue includes a fascinating review of the politicisation of Australian colonial smoking practices and clay pipe form known as the ‘Squatters Budgeree’ (Gojak and Courtney) and a review of recent palynological evidence of the landscape of the Tank Stream in Sydney (Macphail and Owen).

Two papers from the broader Pacific rim, on foreign goods in Hawaiian households (Flexner et al) and a mission house in Vanuatu (Zubrzycka et al) showcase developing trends in historical archaeology in the region, and demonstrate the importance of regional context for Australian and New Zealand sites where similar stories of cultural intersection echoed through the colonies.

An introduction to the archaeology of the Parramatta Industrial School for Girls (Jones) demonstrates the importance of reflecting on the material culture of recent times through an archaeological lens.

The volume also includes two studies of overlooked components of infrastructure best understood by a landscape approach: water-management infrastructure in the case of the Victorian goldfields (Davies and Lawrence) and stone-arch bridges in the case of transport networks in Canterbury, NZ (O’Connell and Koenig).

A contribution to the advancement of use-wear analysis on glass vessels from Christchurch (Platts and Smith) has potential applications for artefact studies through the Australasian region.

Finally, a research report on a mining settlement in the Blue Mountains of NSW (Parkes et al) sets out the potential for a closer study of this domestic assemblage in an industrial setting.

Along with book reviews and thesis abstracts, this diverse selection of papers demonstrates the strength of AHA as the outlet for new research in historical archaeology.

For the full contents list see http://www.asha.org.au/journals/2010s/volume-36.

Volume 37 is filling up fast so prospective authors should email editor@asha.org.au as soon as possible if they are planning to submit in 2019 (and note the revision Submission Guidelines http://www.asha.org.au/submission-information.html).

If you haven’t received your copy, contact secretary@asha.org.au.

Written by Blog Editor

Just two more weeks to go until National Archaeology Week kicks off in Australia! The week begins on 21st May, and there are lots of events happening in and around the week (most are free!) that you can pop in to and spread the word about the wonderful archaeological work going on across the country! For more information, including a calendar of events, see: http://www.archaeologyweek.com/

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 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

Compiled by Blog Editor

A reminder that National Archaeology Week (20-26 May 2018) is fast approaching!

If you have an event you wish to advertise, or if you want to check out what's on, go to: http://www.archaeologyweek.com/ where you'll find a state-by-state events list. You can also find National Archaeology Week on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/archaeologyweek/

The state representatives are:
NSW – Helen Nicholson - nhelen@tpg.com.au
Qld – Paddy Waterson - paddy.waterson@gmail.com
SA – Antoinette Hennessy - antoinette.hennessy@flinders.edu.au
Tas – Samuel Dix – samuel.dix@griffithuni.edu.au
Vic – Caroline Spry – c.spry@latrobe.edu.au
WA – Wendy Reynen – wa@australianarchaeology.com

And if you are posting on social media, please remember to use the hashtag #2018NAW

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