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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as Criteria for Dating in Sydney and Environs from 1788, A Documentary Survey and Assessment of Dating Potential, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Sydney.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!




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

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



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