asha

ASHA NEWS



Sean Winter

In the first half of 2017 Winterborne Heritage conducted archaeological investigations at the State Heritage registered Artillery Drill Hall (Figure 1) in Fremantle on behalf of the National Trust of Western Australia. The Drill Hall was in need of reflooring which also involved significant restumping, and this precipitated the need for excavations inside the building and under the existing floors, prior to ground disturbing floor repairs taking place.


Fig 1: Drill Hall Exterior (supplied by Sean Winter)

The Drill Hall was constructed in 1895, but before that, from 1850, the site was part of the Fremantle Convict Cantonment and is thus within the curtilage of the World Heritage site Fremantle Prison. Documentary evidence indicates that the Drill Hall was built partly over a yard allocated to Sappers of the Royal Engineers and their families, and partly over an area shown as “gardens”. At the end of the convict period in 1886 the land was handed over to the colonial government, and in 1895 was allocated to the military for the construction of one of a number of Drill Halls throughout the Perth metropolitan area. It was retained by the military until the early 1980s, when it was slated for demolition, but was ultimately saved by a community campaign. From 1986 until 2015 the building was used as the Fly-By-Night Musicians Club, a live music venue for local and international acts.


Fig 2: Drill Hall Interior excavations (supplied by Sean Winter)

The internal Drill Hall space measures 21m x 27m and floor repairs were needed throughout this entire area (figure 2). A thick layer of dust had built up under the floor boards on top of existing sediments, and this meant that the underfloor area was extremely dry, with excellent organic preservation. The nature of the construction of the building meant that the joists and bearers sat either on top of, or very close to, the underlying sediment, which limited horizontal movement of artefacts, and this meant that we had high confidence that artefacts were in-situ when recovered.


Fig 3: Garden stakes with 1m scale (supplied by Sean Winter)

It soon became clear that the Drill Hall had been constructed directly over the top of an existing garden area, and that a large amount of convict period material culture had been protected by this construction. Hundreds of roughly cut garden stakes (figure 3) were recovered, many with twine and string still attached, evidence that the gardens were probably being used for the growing of vegetables. Soil samples are yet to be analysed, but we hope that pollen, seeds and other evidence will be able to indicate what type of plants exactly were being grown here. There were also a large number of leather shoes recovered, as well as delicate textiles. Shoe remains are ubiquitous when excavating in the yards at Fremantle Prison, but those tend to be one design – prisoners’ boots. In contrast the shoes recovered here, less than 100m outside the walls of the prison, span a wide range of styles, including ladies’ and childrens’ shoes, indicating perhaps the footwear favoured by the sappers and their families.


Fig 4: WWII military sign (supplied by Sean Winter)

From the Drill Hall period a wide range of military artefacts were recovered, including clothing parts (eg buttons), bullet cartridges, and a metal sign dated January 1943 (figure 4). Also recovered was a shuttlecock made of cork and rattan, evidence that badminton was played recreationally inside the building.

Quite a large number of artefacts were also recovered representative of the Fly-By-Night period, including parts of musical instruments (eg guitar strings, broken drum sticks, plectrums), graffiti, numerous artefacts related to the consumption of mind altering substances, both legal (eg alcohol containers) and illegal (eg syringes), and a large amount of cheap jewellery and other items of adornment.


Fig 5: Craven cigarette packet (supplied by Sean Winter)

One particular artefact class that can be seen from all three periods, is smoking material. From the convict period this is largely represented by clay pipes, but the excellent organic preservation meant that significant amounts of paper was also preserved and recovered in excellent condition. This meant that cigarette packets, match boxes and cigarette papers (figures 5 and 6) were recovered dating from throughout the 20th century. The Fly-By-Night Club was the first music venue in Australia to go smoke free, perhaps as early as 1990, so smoking material related to that period tends to be illicit, with the remains of numerous marijuana joints recovered.


Fig 6: Kali Match Box (supplied by Sean Winter)

The majority of the artefact assemblage is yet to be analysed, but the exceptional organic preservation in the underfloor area means that a large number of fragile artefacts havethat would normally not survive archaeologically, have done so from all three periods of site use. We hope that this will provide us with new understandings about lifeways in Fremantle in the 19th and 20th centuries. A number of journal papers will be published in future on archaeological work at this site, with the first related to the Fly-By-Night period soon to be submitted for publication.



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.



Alison Frappell

The Australian Society for Historical Archaeology welcomes to Sydney Dr. Daniel Schávelzon (Director, Centre for Urban Archaeology, Argentina) and Dr. Patricia Frazzi (Specialist in the Conservation and Restoration of Archaeological Heritage) who have kindly agreed to meet with ASHA members on the evening of Friday 1st December 2017. ASHA extends a warm welcome to members of ICOMOS and the Nicholson Museum who would like join in.

Daniel and Patricia will give a presentation about their work discovering, preserving and sharing the Historical Archaeology of Buenos Aires and Argentina, including the evocative excavations of a probable Nazi Hideout in the remote jungle within Teyú Cuaré Park, Misiones, on the border with Paraguay, which recently attracted international media attention.

When: Friday 1 December 2017, doors open 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start
Where: The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre, Sydney Harbour YHA, 110 Cumberland Street, The Rocks
RSVP: This event is free, however seating is limited and we need to confirm numbers for catering. Please RSVP to secretary@asha.org.au

For more information about the two presenters, please see: http://abcnews.go.com/International/believed-nazi-hideout-argentina-discovered-archaeologists/story?id=29838180



The Council of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation

The Inaugural Memorial Lecture in Honour of Emeritus Professor J Basil Hennessy (1925-2013), presented by the Council of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation, will be given by Dr Stephen Bourke on Wednesday 8th November, 2017. The event will take place at 6.30pm, in General Lecture Theatre 1 which is in the Main Quad of Sydney University, with light refreshments afterwards in the Nicholson Museum.

J. Basil Hennessy AO was Professor of Middle Eastern Archaeology (1970-1990) and Foundation Director of NEAF (1986-1991). After Undergraduate study at Sydney (1947-49), postgraduate research in the Middle East (1950-1952) and several years teaching at Sydney University (1953-61) under the legendary Jim Stewart, Hennessy read his Doctorate at Oxford (1962-64) before launching his field career in Jerusalem at British School Director (1965- 70).

He returned to Australia in 1970, and effectively re-instituted the teaching of Near Eastern Archaeology at Sydney University after a ten-year hiatus. He was confirmed as Edwin Cuthbert Hall Professor in 1973, and thereafter developed hugely influential courses in Levantine and Cypriot archaeology, which produced most of the current batch of Australian Near Eastern scholars active today. As well as his teaching, Hennessy directed two hugely important excavation projects in Jordan, the first at Chalcolithic Teleilat Ghassul (1975-77) and the second at the long-lived ancient city of Pella of the Decapolis (1978-90).

This first Memorial Lecture will celebrate Hennessy’s many achievements in the world of Near Eastern Archaeology, and call for the setting up of a Fund, administered through NEAF, to support the ongoing research and publication of the many works Hennessy set in train.

The inaugural lecture will be given by Dr. Stephen Bourke, current NEAF Treasurer and Director of the Pella Excavations since 1992. Stephen also led four seasons of renewed excavations at Teleilat Ghassul in the 1990s. The lecture will outline Hennessy’s life in Near Eastern Archaeology, from his first work in Turkey and Cyprus, to his seminal meeting with Kathleen Kenyon at Jericho in 1952, which shaped his life in arc

We hope that many of you can come and learn about the man who was the founder and driving force behind the establishment of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation.

Although this event is free we would greatly appreciate if you could RSVP your attendance for catering purposes: Phone +61 2 9351 4151, Fax +61 2 9114 0921, or Emmail neaf.archaeology@sydney.edu.au



Bronwyn Woff

Excavations of the Harrietville Chinese Mining site are currently being undertaken in Victoria's gold field region. The one of the project's staff members, Melissa Dunk, is putting together regular blog posts on her wordpress site called Overseas Chinese Archaeology. The blog can be found here: https://oschinesearch.wordpress.com/ and contains updates on the excavations and the behind the scenes activities.



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.