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Bronwyn Woff

This month’s Artefact of the Month an interesting looking bulk ink bottle with multiple impressed marks found on its body and base. This bottle was found on a historic excavation in the north of Melbourne’s CBD. It was excavated during works for a multi-story apartment building, from a c1850s+ light industrial site.


The ink bottle is made from stoneware, with a light brown salt glaze, and has an unusual square-shaped finish and spout. It stands 205mm tall, and has a diameter of 90mm. The bottle is well marked, with two makers marks (17 / DOULTON / LAMBETH and 3 / DOULTON / LAMBETH) on the base and on the body near the base respectively, as well as a registration diamond (IV / 28 / 9 Rd V / W) representing 28 March 1876 on the body near the base.

The two Doulton / Lambeth marks on the base and body of the bottle indicate that it was made by Doulton & Co. The company began as a partnership in the early 1800s, and worked from a pottery in Lambeth. From 1854 the company became Doulton and Co, and began using marks similar to those seen on this artefact. The company was granted a Royal Warrant in 1901, and from 1902 began adding ‘Royal’ to their mark, as well as a crown and lion (http://thepotteries.org/allpotters/356.htm).


Registration diamond marks such as these were used to denote that the design of an object, or the design of the decoration (for example, ceramic or textile patterns) were copyrighted to the designer. The diamond itself notes the date that the registration occurred, and therefore marks only a start date for that object. For more information on registration diamonds on ceramics, see A. Brooks An Archaeological Guide to British Ceramics in Australia 1788-1901 2005:74 which was published by The Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology and The La Trobe University Archaeology Program (although out-of-print, the complete book is available as a download for all current ASHA members through the members portal HERE).



Bronwyn Woff, ASHA Blog Editor

Welcome to the final Artefact of the Month (AotM) post for 2017! I hope that you have enjoyed reading the articles put together by our members about interesting artefacts they’ve come across.

We started AotM in February, with ‘Absinthe Bottles at Little Lon’ by Dr Sarah Hayes, and followed with two more articles on glass in March and April – ‘Bullseye! Pontilled Window Glass’ by Bronwyn Woff and ‘Kirin Beer Bottle’ by Melissa Dunk. In May Catherine Tucker shared with us an engraved fork excavated from a Pentridge Prison rubbish tip. In June we headed across the ditch to check out a variety of ceramics excavated from Christchurch in an article by Jessie Garland. 'French Fire Bricks' were our next Artefact of the Month article, with the first of three articles for the year by Felicity Buckingham and Zvonka Stanin. In August Fiona Shanahan showed how artefacts can provide us with proof of once-off events, with the camera lens of a F-52 photoreconnaissance camera used in WWII. In September we continued the aeroplane-related theme, with Miss Australia Air League Badges from the 1950s by Felicity Buckingham. Our ASHA Secretary Caiti D’Gluyas provided us with an interesting look at ‘The Hated Stain’ of convictism through a medal commemorating the Cessation of Convict Transportation in October and we rounded off the year with a final AotM article by Zvonka Stanin demonstrating the fashion of men’s Broad Fall Trousers.

Thanks go out to the authors of each of our submissions for 2017. We are currently looking for Artefact of the Month articles for 2018, so if you have an artefact that you’re interested in writing about (or just want to show it off to fellow archaeologists!) then please email blog@asha.org.au



Rebekah Hawkins, Rhian Jones and Jane Rooke (Casey and Lowe)

It’s A Riot! - Celebrating strong women and their stories

On Friday 27 October Casey and Lowe were invited to join the Parramatta Female Factory Friends (PFFF) in their annual celebration of ‘It’s a Riot’ Day. It was a great honour to join in these celebrations and help tell just some of the stories marking 199 years (next year will be a big one) since the Factory was built.



Display table at ‘It’s a Riot’ day.

The Parramatta Female Factory was the first purpose built Factory in the colony, established as a place of assignment and of secondary punishment as well as a marriage bureau. It also included a hospital which was open to the women of the Factory and free settler women. In 1818 Governor Macquarie laid the first foundation stone, and three years later 112 convict women were transferred to the Factory. The number of women residing at the Factory increased dramatically throughout the 1830s and 1840s due to the large number of women transported from England and Ireland. By 1827 overcrowding, dissatisfaction with rations and declining living conditions led to possibly the first female workers’ riot in Australia. This riot was one of five that are known to have occurred at the factory, with many more occurring across the site during its time as an Asylum and Girl’s Reformatory. The Factory closed in 1848 and the site was converted into the Parramatta Lunatic Asylum.



Zvonka Stanin

These trousers are some of the more complete textiles items recovered during the 2017 Alpha Archaeology excavation of the former Carlton United Brewery (CUB2) complex in Swanston Street, Carlton. When excavated, they appeared to be sandwiched between wooden floor boards and a mid-19th century cesspit deposit. Their original condition, was described by the CUB2 conservator Jeff Fox as a ‘mass of unidentified textile covered in mud. Unable to determine form/shape’.


The conservation process which included wet cleaning, immersion by an ultrasonic bath, and freeze drying, separated the textile mass into a more recognisable pattern of garment components. These include front and back ‘trouser’ panels with folded edges that appeared to have been once stitched and before being unpicked. All the major panels appear to be made of a coarse brown and black cotton or wool material, woven tightly on the weft. Thick, horizontal lines are barely apparent on each panel; whether this fading is due to use or taphonomic conditions has yet to be determined. Button holes and matching button imprints on different pieces confirm that the trousers were once more complete.


By tracing individual fragments to create a working canvas mock-up, we were able to show how the trouser panels were placed together, with a front ‘panel’ buttoning onto an underlying waistband which was also buttoned, most likely by four-hole sew through bone or wooden buttons which were common types at the CUB2. The back panel creates exceptional room, in a fit that is otherwise tall and slim, and a good example of the style of construction not commonly discussed in Australian archaeological literature: the ‘fall front‘, ‘drop front fall’, ‘flap pants’ style of men’s pants. The style is understandably associated with convenience; the pattern allows the ‘fall’ to be opened without necessarily unfastening the waistband (or ‘drop your trousers’). A narrower version of the fall (narrow fall) seems to have been the dominant style for breeches, pantaloons, trousers, and overalls from the French Revolution (1790) until the 1840s, when the centre button closure became more common. The ‘broad fall’ style of the CUB2 example, where the ‘fall’ stretches from hip to hip, may have been introduced later (http://www.northwestjournal.ca/VI6, sourced 10/10/2017, but see the Met pants below).


Analysis of the CUB2 trousers so far hints at a manifold significance. The combination of the ‘broad fall’ style and striped fabric appears to have few publicly known comparisons (see for example, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/79497?rpp=20&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Trousers&pos=17, sourced 10/10/2017). The striped design is reminiscent of the popular taste for patterns in ‘gentleman’s’ fashion of the 1850s and early 1860s, the period that coincides with the Victorian gold rush; and all that it entails. It counters any expectations of ‘dullness’ and ‘conformity’, typical of the latter 19th and early 20th century city clothing for men - all dark colours and creased trousers - and even widens the gaze past those numerous S. T. Gills’ paintings, with their whimsy neckerchiefs at the centre. Can the paintings tell us what kind of man wore these? Broader fashion discourse tells us to ‘go easy’. Through the interplay of economic wealth, and contact between large numbers of people of different classes, social or other standing during this period, fashion became much less of a marker of status than previously known; or than continued in England or Europe (Maynard 1994). The trousers do indicate care and re-use, through the effort it would have taken to unpick all the seams and button holes, which may suggest that both the pattern and material continued to be important.

The brief mock-up experiment was a collaborative effort between Allison Bruce (La Trobe), Olivia Arnold (UNE), Felicity Buckingham and myself. The latter can be contacted on felicitybuckingam@yahoo.com or zstanin50@gmail.com

Images by Z Stanin:
1 Trouser fabric recovered in association with cesspit deposits from CUB2. The right half shows the back of the trousers most completely.
2 The front trouser panels, with the blue marker showing the position of the button holes.
3 The front trouser panels, not including the lining for the ‘fall’ (see image 1). Note that the pockets were more likely under the ‘fall’ as in image 2.

References:
Maynard, Margaret 1994, Fashioned from penury: dress as cultural practice in colonial Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge [England]; New York
http://www.northwestjournal.ca/VI6, sourced 10/10/2017.
https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/79497?rpp=20&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Trousers&pos=17, sourced 10/10/2017



Bronwyn Woff

A resident of Maffra, VIC has recently been interviewed by the ABC network as an interest story on his collection of C20th century electronics. The early kettles (numbering between 1,500 and 2000), radios and other appliances and collectables are on display throughout his home, which he regularly opens for tours by interested groups.

For more information, see: www.abc.net.au/news



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

The following research article highlights the parallels between the throw-away society of Gold Rush Victoria and of people today, showing our wasteful culture is firmly entrenched in our collective past.

Check it out here: https://theconversation.com/gold-rush-victoria-was-as-wasteful-as-we-are-today-78473



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

A swathe of excavations will soon begin in Melbourne, ahead of multiple new train stations being built in the CBD. The stations will service a new tunnel which is being built below the city to ease congestion in the current city loop tunnel. Excavations are expected to uncover hundreds of thousands of artefacts, as well as evidence from the early stages of Melbourne's urban city.

For more information, please see the following news article:
www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/melbourne-metro-rail-project-archaeological-digs-expected-to-find-up-to-one-million-artefacts/




Fiona Shanahan

The bombing of Darwin in February 1942 resulted in the establishment of 10 main airbases with two additional satellite bases for each main base in Australia’s Northern Territory. Coomalie was one of Batchelor’s satellite airbases and was home to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadrons 31 and 87 (87 was born from No. 1 Photo Reconnaissance Unit at Coomalie). 87 Squadron was a photoreconnaissance unit that flew Mosquito aircraft.

The F–52 camera was a World War II British photoreconnaissance camera and the Coomalie Mosquitos were fitted with these advanced cameras for the duration of the war.

There was only one fatal aircraft crash at Coomalie for the entire war. It occurred in August 1945, resulting in the death of pilot Gillespie and serious burns to navigator Haynes. The aircraft crash occurred due to the aircraft suddenly veering off the airstrip during take-off (Mosquitos were prone to do this on occasion). The aircraft then flipped and caught fire.The crashed aircraft was cleared away with a bulldozer and dumped in the Coomalie Creek.


Image courtesy: Imperial War Memorial (CH 10845)

In the mid 2000s the current owner of the airbase, Richard, located a ‘frosted crystal like object, the size of a fist’ (pictured above, image courtesy: Shanahan 2013) at the site of the Gillespie Mosquito accident. Considering the location of the find and the size of the item, Richard asked a geologist to test its lead content. The results of the examination confirmed it was most likely the F–52 camera lens as it contained the expected 7% lead found in lens from the time. Upon further inspections of the crash site and the Coomalie Creek the severely burnt back casing of the F–52 camera was located.

This find not only adds to the ever evolving narrative and living history of the airbase, but it is a physical item that the Gillespie family have been able to connect with (Gillespie’s family are heavily involved with the living history at Coomalie).

If you would like to know more about the site or the F–52 lens please send an email to shanahanparker@gmail.com.




Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

Excavation of the historic Bridge Inn Hotel is taking place at Mernda, north-east of Melbourne. Archaeologists have uncovered footings of the early hotel just under the top soil. Various artefacts have been found, as well as aboriginal artefacts. An open day is being held on Saturday, 8th of July between 10am-2pm.

For more information, please see the following links:

http://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/media-library/news/archaeological-dig-underway-in-mernda
        

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/north/bridge-inn-south-morang-archaeological-dig-makes-key-discoveries/news-story/48359c71371a03f5e024dab1cdf93f04


http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/north/archeologists-dig-deep-to-uncover-mysterious-history-of-bridge-inn-hotel-in-mernda/news-story/74b66d48466c478b4d196e40d3d622cd





Felicity Buckingham and Zvonka Stanin

The bricks in the images above and below were recovered from the southern end of Lot 67 in the 2016 excavation of the old CUB complex, near the corner of Swanston and Queensberry streets, Melbourne. This excavation was undertaken by Alpha Archaeology for Scape. Chosen for their rarity (an unusual find in Australia, and perhaps outside of France), these bricks were part of feature 066, a chalky white hand-made brick construction that was initially interpreted as a fireplace within a cellar.


At least three of the feature’s surfaces were comprised of bricks made in Langeais, a town in central France - bearing the makers marks of “Desouches Hubert a Langeais” and “Alexis Lemesle a Langeais”. Initial online research suggests Hubert Desouches ran his business in the 1850s and was declared bankrupt in 1859 (http://en.patrimoine-de-france.com/indre-et-loire/langeais/briqueterie-9.php, accessed 1/08/2016). Alexis Lemesle also appeared to have brick works around the same time - 1853 to perhaps 1875 (http://www.actuacity.com/four-a-carreaux_m81946/, accessed 1/08/2015).


Excavation showed that the fireplace/feature 066 was most likely added after the construction of the original cellar - an awkward, retrofitted addition to the cellar flume, sitting on top of original foundations and built into the cellar wall. Unless reused/curated (e.g. as ballast), these dates suggest a possible 1850s construction date for the cellar (see below).


This area of Melbourne was first settled in the 1850s, with these earlier buildings demolished and replaced with brick terraces sometime before the mid 1880s. Although artifact analysis is ongoing, it is possible that feature 066, and the French bricks added to it after its initial construction, may represent the earliest, c. 1850s to c. 1870s of occupation of Lot 67.

Images provided by Alpha Archaeology, showing artefacts CUB2 04537, CUB2 04538, CUB2 04539 and CUB2 04632. CUB2 04537 and CUB2 04538 with multiple finger print marks. Site image: CUB Scape, Lot 67, view south east facing Swanston Street, showing showing feature 066 at far wall of cellar. Photo credit Zvonka Stanin

Felicity and Zvonka are currently analysing the artefacts from the latest CUB dig for Alpha Archaeology, and can be contacted at either felicitybuckingham@yahoo.com or zstanin50@gmail.com