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ASHA NEWS



AACAI Victorian Chapter

The Victorian Chapter of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. invites you to celebrate the end of year with us. Join us for canapés and drinks at Hotel Spencer Bar & Grill at 475 Spencer Street, Melbourne on Friday 1 December, 6:30pm start. RSVP details to come.



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



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

An abandoned 19th century graveyard with unmarked graves has been discovered in the gold mining town of Ravenswood, 130km southwest of Townsville, QLD, where gold was discovered in 1868. The 16 graves are believed to be have been interred between the late 1860s and early 1870s, and archaeologists have determined that the remains were those of nine adults and seven children.

For more information, see:
https://www.qt.com.au/news/cemetery-project-finds-graves-burial-vault-ipswich/878067/

http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/hidden-graves-unearthed-in-north-queensland/news-story/ca4a07efc3f46554bb5540a2c4393334



Caiti D'Gluyas

One of the most significant finds from the 2002 Casselden Place, Melbourne, archaeological investigations (50 Lonsdale Street) was a medal struck to commemorate the Cessation of Convict Transportation (see images below, source: GML Heritage). The medal commemorates not only the victory of the anti-transportation movement but also the 50th anniversary of the founding of Tasmania on 10th August 1853.

The medal's design was approved by the Anti-Transportation League committee in 1853 before being fabricated in England. The medals finally arrived in Australia for distribution in 1855. The medal features James Wyon's portrait of Queen Victoria on one side, with the reverse showing the armorial bearings for Tasmania in a shield. James Wyon was a resident engraver at the Royal Mint and is best known for engraving the dies for sovereigns and half-sovereigns at the new Sydney branch of the Royal Mint. The shield is quartered by the Southern Cross and bears pastoral, commercial and agricultural emblems supported by the emu and kangaroo, surmounted by a rising sun motif.

The medal was cast in three different metals. One single medal was struck in gold for presentation to Queen Victoria, 100 were struck in bronze for committee members and 9000 were struck in white metal for general distribution. The medal recovered from Casselden Place appears to be a bronze issue. Many of the white metal medals went to Tasmanian school children. At the cessation celebrations, each child was given a piece of cake and a ticket enabling them to receive a medal, once they had arrived in the colony. On 3 August 1855, 9000 medals arrived in Launceston and 4000 were immediately dispatched to Hobart. Another 3000 were held in Launceston and 2000 were distributed to Green Ponds, Norfolk Plains, Ross, Evandale, Longford and other country districts.

The medal is now in the collection of Museum Victoria as part of a set of archaeological assemblages from the ‘Little Lon’ precinct. The most recent and concluding historical archaeological excavation at ‘Little Lon’ was undertaken between April and July 2017 for the 271 Spring Street development. An interpretation scheme for this excavation is currently being prepared by GML Heritage and will draw together the multiple phases of archaeological investigation that has occurred within the precinct. The medal provides an opportunity to interpret a fascinating story about ‘the hated stain’ of transportation.

References:
McNeice, R 1990, Tasmanian commemorative medals and medallions 1853–1900: A collector's handbook, Taroona.
Mint Issue September 2003, Royal Australia Mint.



Alison Frappell

In the following podcast, Holly Maclean (Heritage Consultant with Urbis) talks to ABC radio Brisbane about her work as part of Queen’s Wharf redevelopment, including her archaeological monitoring role alongside the construction teams, the genesis of Brisbane’s city streetscape, using diagnostic features to date bottles and the significance of Edison Street Tube artefacts discovered during the services diversions work: http://www.abc.net.au/radio/brisbane/programs/breakfast/queens-wharf-archaeology-holly-maclean/8895530

For more information, please see this update from January: https://urbis.com.au/insights-news/heritage-work-begins-at-queens-wharf-ahead-of-construction/



Prof Richard Mackay

The Heritage Council of Victoria is considering the feasibility of preparing a new ‘Victorian Heritage Strategy’. The previous strategy – Victoria’s Heritage: Strengthening Our Communities – operated between 2006 and 2010, but in the period since there have been significant changes, which provide the context for considering a new Heritage Strategy.

Mackay Strategic (Richard Mackay) has been commissioned to prepare a ‘feasibility study’ which looks at the opportunities, scope and implications for a new Victorian Heritage Strategy. As part of this process, stakeholders in Victoria’s Heritage are being invited to use this short survey to express opinions about a new heritage strategy – the merits, issues, opportunities and priorities at the outset of the feasibility assessment.

The survey can be accessed here and will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. (Please note that it is best to avoid Internet Explorer or to ensure that internet settings are Google compatible). Your contribution by 30 September would be greatly appreciated.



AACAI NSW/ACT chapter

Archaeobotany for consultant archaeologists! AACAI NSW are pleased to present two speakers and a discussion on archaeobotanical sampling methods, techniques and controls for interpreting and dating archaeological sites, reconstructing past environments and understanding past Aboriginal and European land uses. Key speakers include: Dr Andrew Fairbain (University of Queensland) and Dr Emilie Dotte-Sarout (Australian National University). Attendees are invited to bring your questions for discussion!

Details

Thursday 21 September
Door opens 5:30pm for a 6:00pm start
The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre at YHA the Rocks
Costs: AACAI Members and Students (must show student ID): Free
Non-Members: $10
Pay at the door

Please RSVP by 20 th September for catering purposes to dianacowie@gmail.com



Felicity Buckingham

These thin, plastic discs were recovered from a yard context in Lot 61 during the 2016 excavation of the old CUB complex, near the corner of Swanston and Queensberry streets, Melbourne. The above image shows record CUB2 11317 (scale in cm).

Tentatively interpreted as being promotional material (possibly badge blanks, based on size and shape), they read “MISS AUSTRALIAN AIR LEAGUE 1950” and include the Air League emblem of a winged shield. Small oxidized holes are present on all examples and may indicate they were held together by a pin or similar.


Multiple ‘blanks’, including CUB2 11317 (bottom, centre)

Originally named the ‘Air Mindedness Development League’, the Australian Air League (hereafter the ‘League’) was established in 1934 to promote “an interest in aviation both as a career or as a hobby in the youth of Australia”, and “to provide opportunities to develop good citizenship, teamwork and to develop ingenuity and resourcefulness of members” (https://www.airleague.com.au/about/history).

In September 1950, the League sponsored Miss Patricia Sheales, a 20 year old hair salon receptionist (Age, 12 Sep 1950, p. 1), as a contestant in the Miss Victoria quest (Age, 11 Sep 1950, p. 5). These blanks embody the hope that Patricia would go through to the national competition. Patricia then made a number of public appearances, including the League’s annual parade (Age, 2 Oct 1950, p. 4), the Caulfield races (Age, 23 Oct 1950, p. 8), and a ball (Argus, 2 Dec 1950, p. 8), as well as appearing in several promotional pieces of editorial, such as the image below of several Miss Victoria entrants (Advocate, 16 Dec 1950, p. 3).


Pat Sheales (back row, centre) and other Miss Victoria contestants (Advocate, 16 Dec 1950, p. 3)

Unfortunately, Patricia didn’t win the Victorian competition. However, no Miss Australia was crowned at all in 1950 (Age, 24 Feb 1951, p. 3), due to a dispute regarding the chaperone assigned to the previous year’s winner for her international tour (West Australian, 15 Apr 1950, p. 10). Formerly Miss NSW, the NSW branch of the competition backed the decision, and withheld finances unless another chaperone was appointed - the result being the cancellation of said tour outright, and the discontinuation of the competition until 1953.

These blanks were chosen for the light they shed on the youth organisations and popular culture of mid twentieth-century Australia, as well as for the questions they ask about the site. How was the League, the Miss Australia competition, or Patricia Sheales related to Lot 61? If these blanks were promotional items, they were not needed after the Miss Victoria competition in December 1950, and their yard location could suggest they were simply thrown away, and may not have any further relation to the site. Analysis is ongoing, and will hopefully help to answer some of these questions.

Felicity Buckingham, along with Zvonka Stanin, is currently analysing artefacts from the latest CUB dig for Alpha Archaeology, and can be contacted at felicitybuckingham@yahoo.com



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

Excavations have now concluded at the site of the Carlton Hotel, Geelong. The excavations were carried out ahead of the construction of a new building for the National Disability Insurance Agency in Geelong’s CBD. Early domestic building footings were discovered at the back of the hotel, as well as a barrel cesspit. Artefacts of note included crockery related to the previous Union Inn Hotel, various pipes and a complete bone domino.

For more information, please see the following link:

www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/news/geelong/from-beneath-old-carlton-hotel-site-hints-of-gold-rush-era-lifestyle/





Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

The Heritage Act 2017 which becomes operative on 1 November 2017 is proposed to be supported by new Victorian Heritage Regulations 2017 and Heritage (Underwater Cultural Heritage) Regulations 2017 announced by the Minister for Planning. The Regulations will “set fees for certain activities, set penalties and infringement offences, require details and results of historical archaeological surveys to be provided to the Executive Director, prescribe documents and forms for activities established by the Heritage Act 2017”. A Regulations Impact Statement (RIS) has been prepared, and comments are invited on this and the two sets of Regulations themselves. The closing date for submission of comments is Friday 28th July.

For more information, please see the following link:

https://www.heritage.vic.gov.au/legislation/heritage-regulations