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ASHA NEWS

ASHA and Interpretation Australia

Travelling Stories: connecting people and landscapes is the first joint conference of Interpretation Australia and the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology. It aims to bring together people to create a greater understanding for all of the environments in which we live. This will be a conference with a difference, a traveling conference from Launceston to Hobart via key natural and cultural heritage places through Tasmania! The conference will be held between October 10 - 14 2017. A draft program is outlined below:


Tuesday 10 October: Arrive in Launceston – Welcome evening event
Wednesday 11 October: Launceston sessions
Thursday 12 October: Travel day Launceston to Hobart via Midlands
Friday 13 October: Hobart sessions + conference dinner (end of conference)
Saturday 14 October: Optional Hobart site visits or trip to Port Arthur Region

For more information, please see the following links:
ASHA conference page
Interpretation Australia conference page



Catherine Tucker

This cutlery fork that was recovered from excavations of a large rubbish pit at Pentridge Prison, located to the north of Melbourne. The assemblage is thought to date to the mid-nineteenth century and this particular artefact was chosen as a representative example of the many cutlery items recovered during the excavations. It is a utilitarian object that has been modified for use specifically at the prison and was probably used by the inmates.

The metal is now heavily corroded but it has a shaft that extends all the way to the end of the handle. Over the metal handle there are two identically shaped bone lengths that are attached to each side of the fork shaft by three small evenly spaced nails. The bone handle is 14mm wide at the fork end and 20mm at the handle end and is 84mm in length. These dimensions are the same for all of the forks in the assemblage indicating that the cutlery was most likely mass produced in specialist factories rather than made in one of the prison workshops.

On one side of the fork there are roughly carved roman numerals – XXV (25) and numbers such as these were found on all bone handled cutlery in the assemblage. The highest number recovered was LVIII (58), meaning that there were at least 58 objects in the original set. The numerals are deeply incised on the handles and the roughness and variability in style indicate that these marks were probably made at the prison.

These numbered utensils are particularly identifiable as prison or institutional artefacts, places where it was important to keep track of sharp objects, and they reflect the processes involved in managing inmates in nineteenth century prisons.

Catherine Tucker is a part-time PHD student at LaTrobe University who also works as a consultant archaeologist, mostly in Victoria.

 




Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

Members may be interested to explore context posted to a new archaeology and anthropology blog hosted on The Guardian's website, entitled The Past and The Curious. The blog can be found at the following link:

www.theguardian.com


James Flexner

Earlier this year, a new editorial team was assembled to take over the editorship of Australasian Historical Archaeology beginning with the 2018 issue (the 2017 issue is being guest edited by Katherine Watson). The team consists of Annie Clarke and James Flexner from the University of Sydney, and Penny Crook and Sarah Hayes from La Trobe University.

We are very excited about the opportunity to work on and develop this journal, which has been so influential in the region and historical archaeology more generally. We plan to spend 2017 assessing the status of AHA in comparison with like local and international journals — many of which are migrating to large publishing houses— ‘benchmarking’ its content, format, production, delivery, promotion, indexation and reach (citations and ‘impact’), along with other endeavours such as Early Career Researcher (ECR) mentoring. This would provide an evidence-based approach to setting the long-term direction of AHA’s future production and promotion, to ensure it continues to serve the membership and goals of the Society. We plan to prepare a ‘benchmarking’ report to deliver to the Committee in early August, well in advance of the AGM. Of course, we look forward to input and discussion from ASHA membership as AHA continues to evolve as an important forum for publication in historical archaeology in our region and beyond.

Meet the new team:

Anne (Annie) Clarke has over 35 years of experience in archaeological, heritage and museological research. Her research interests include the archaeology of Arnhem Land, the archaeology of cross-cultural engagement and colonialism, rock art and historical mark-making practices, ethnographic collections and objects, community archaeology, narrative archaeology and critical heritage. She has co-edited eight volumes on archaeology, heritage and museum studies, as well as three special journal issues. Her two most recent edited volumes are That was Then, This is Now: Contemporary Archaeology and Material Cultures in Australia (2016) with Ursula Frederick and Object Stories: artifacts and archaeologists with Steve Brown and Ursula Frederick. She is the joint author with Peter Hobbins and Ursula Frederick of Stories from the Sandstone: Quarantine Inscriptions from Australia’s Immigrant Past (2016).

Penny Crook has over 20 years’ experience in historical archaeology as a consultant and academic archaeologist. Her research interests include 19th-century material culture, assemblage analysis, consumer studies, urban archaeology and digital data management. She is currently completing a DECRA fellowship at La Trobe University although she continues to be based in Sydney. She has published several papers and monographs, including a co-authored monograph (with Peter Davies and Tim Murray) in Studies in Australasian Historical Archaeology. A long-standing member of ASHA, she has served in a number of roles including Editorial Assistant, Secretary and Vice President. She is currently Assistant Editor of Post-Medieval Archaeology and on the Editorial Advisory Board of Australian Archaeology.

James Flexner has published widely in international journals and scholarly books. His primary areas of research are historical archaeology, landscape archaeology, and the archaeology of Oceania (including the historical archaeology of Australia). He has also been a regular reviewer for refereed journals, including the International Journal of Historical Archaeology, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, and Australasian Historical Archaeology. He has just completed editing a forthcoming volume of the journal Museum Worlds, and will be editing a forum for the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology. His first book, An Archaeology of Early Christianity in Vanuatu, was published by ANU Press in 2016.

Sarah Hayes is a DECRA fellow in Archaeology at La Trobe University. Her research focus is on urban archaeology, comparative artefact analysis, class construction and social mobility. She has published a number of papers along with a monograph in the Studies in Australasian Historical Archaeology series titled Good Taste, Fashion, Luxury: A genteel Melbourne family and their rubbish. Sarah has served for a number of years as book reviews editor for Australasian Historical Archaeology, newsletter editor for the Society for Historical Archaeology and as a reviewer for a number of journals. She has also worked as a tutor at La Trobe University, as an artefact specialist in consulting archaeology and in the management of moveable heritage in the museum and cultural heritage contexts.



Dr Richard Tuffin, Project Archaeologist, PAHSMA

In the last round of grants awarded by the Australian Research Council, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers was awarded funds for a three year project examining landscapes of convict labour. Titled Landscapes of Production and Punishment: the Tasman Peninsula 1830-77, the project commences in April of this year and will see archaeologists, historians and demographers from the University of New England, the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, University of Tasmania and University of Liverpool, use the physical landscape and documentary record to engage with the organisation, processes and outputs of convict labour on a scale never-before seen.

The grant is a recognition that the Australian convict story is concerned as much with labour and production as it is with punishment and reform. The gaols, hiring depots, penal stations and work camps, as well as the domestic residences and places of work to which assignees and passholders were tied, remain today as physical expressions of the otherwise invisible forces which shaped convict labour management. Built and continually developed by prisoner labour, these places held workforces governed by an extraordinary mixture of punishment and production aims. Barracks, wards and separate cells held prisoners in between – and sometimes during – their bouts of work. The flogging yards, solitary cells and stone-breaking yards received the unwilling. Interior and exterior spaces were designated as work sites, where shoes were made, metal wrought, stone quarried and timber harvested. These spaces, as well as the men and women within them, were controlled by the built and regulatory environment which surrounded them. Factors at the global, colonial and local scale acted upon these landscapes, affecting their formation and development, as well as the processes and products of prisoner labour within them.

That landscapes of convict labour were formed and shaped by multi-scale forces should not come as a revelation. Setting the places and spaces we study within their proper social, political and economic contexts is just good historical archaeological practice. Archaeologists and historians have commonly worked in synchrony to examine the bigger questions about our convict past, in particular during the post-1980s debates about the relative merits of qualitative and quantitative data to convey the complexities of convict lived experiences. The two fields have particularly worked well together to recover lost convict life narratives. Recently, however, there has been a notable divergence. Historians have tapped further into the massive potential of the datasets, examining and analysing the life-course data of thousands of convicts to draw new conclusions about the lives of prisoners before, during and after their incarceration. There has not been a similar big picture approach from historical archaeologists, who have retained a focus on individual sites and data types. Often a pragmatic response to the very real limitations of funding and time, it has meant that archaeologists have not been able to help shape the direction of the wider debate.

Focussing on the convict stations and sites of the Tasman Peninsula, this ARC project will illustrate how the physical record can be linked to the ‘big data’ approaches taken by the historians. A foundation of the project will be the archaeological surveys of the Port Arthur hinterland and the area around the former Cascades Probation Station (Koonya). Following the successful application of the technique to better understandings of the Coal Mines and Port Arthur Historic Sites, high definition airborne remote sensing (LiDAR) will map the sites associated with the extraction, transport and refinement of the area’s materials during the convict period: the roads, paths, tramways, building sites, saw pits, working platforms. For the first time we will comprehensively and accurately visualise the labour landscape within which Port Arthur and the Cascades Probation Station were situated. This will add to existing and augmented studies of the production centres of the Coal Mines and the Tasman Peninsula’s other probation stations.

The project will show how we can really only begin to understand the experiences of convicts and gaolers alike through an engagement with both the changing physical realities which defined their lives, as well as the intent of the evolving convict system as defined in the historical record. Mapping landscape change across time will be a core focus of the archaeological process, the change reflective of the multi-scale influences shaping convict labour management. This will require a close and thorough reading of the historical sources, through which the form of these influences are best expressed. This project will draw upon the trove of statistical data and correspondence records, allowing better understanding of how the labour landscape developed, as well as the quantities and movement flows of men and materiel. The close linking of the data to the physical landscape will also provide the opportunity to ground-truth the archive. A key component of this will be the analysis of thousands of convict records – many of them previously unavailable in transcript form. The incidental life narratives embodied within such documentary sources can be used to place the people back in the landscape, helping us understand how the built and regulatory environment shaped and was shaped by their experience, at the same time as moulding labour relations between prisoners and administrators.

In addition to the research outcomes throughout the project’s life, we intend to produce a research roadmap for engaging with places of convict labour, providing a model for similar approaches. It will also feed into the continued interpretation of the Tasman Peninsula, an important consideration as the number of visitors coming to the World Heritage-listed site of Port Arthur are only increasing. Through such interpretive means, we can further an understanding that convict places like Port Arthur sat at the heart of complex systems of production and punishment.

Professor Martin Gibbs, University of New England

Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, University of Tasmania

Associate Professor David Roberts, University of New England

Professor Barry Godfrey, University of Liverpool

Dr David Roe, Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority

Dr Jody Steele, Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority

Dr Richard Tuffin, Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority

Susan Hood, Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority




Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

The New Zealand Archaeological Association have announced their annual conference for 2017. The conference will be held in Thames, Coromandel Peninsula, North Island on 21-24 June 2017. Proposals for papers and posters are now being recieved, from topics across all aspects of New Zealand and Pacific Archaeology. And early-bird discount will apply for attendees who register and pay before 30 April.

For more information, please see: https://nzarchaeology.org/event/nzaa-annual-conference-2017




AACAI NSW/ACT

Tickets are now on sale for the Sydney Historical Archaeology Practitioner's Workshop (19 May 2017). Tickets will be on sale until 15 May 2017 unless sold out earlier - book now to avoid disappointment.

The one day workshop is an opportunity for practitioners, students and those interested in historical archaeology to explore best practice, innovations and technology as well as recent historical archaeology projects in NSW. This year's theme is theme ‘views and interpretations – historical archaeology in NSW.’ The day will include keynote speakers, papers, practical demonstrations and discussions all related to current practice in historical archaeology.

Please visit: www.trybooking.com to book your seat.



Caroline Spry, La Trobe University

All are invited to ‘Looking back, looking forward for La Trobe Archaeology’. This event, which ties in with La Trobe University’s 50th Anniversary, will connect students, staff, alumni and others, showcase La Trobe Archaeology’s capabilities and build pathways for future careers and research-industry collaborations. It will comprise a panel discussion on career pathways by alumni working in archaeology and cultural heritage management; discussions and demonstrations of the equipment and services offered by La Trobe Archaeology; and an opportunity for students, staff, alumni and others to meet, reconnect and create work opportunities and collaborations over light refreshments.

Please save the date, and stay tuned for more details:
Date: Friday 19th May 2017 (National Archaeology Week 2017)
Venue: La Trobe University, Melbourne (Bundoora campus)

Gabriel Moshenska, UCL Institute of Archaeology

This textbook provides a broad overview of the key concepts in public archaeology, research field that examines the relationship between archaeology and the public, in both theoretical and practical terms. While based on the long-standing programme of undergraduate and graduate teaching in public archaeology at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, the book also takes into account the growth of scholarship from around the world and seeks to clarify what exactly ‘public archaeology’ is by promoting an inclusive, socially and politically engaged vision of the discipline.

Written for students and practitioners, the individual chapters – which can be read independently – provide textbook-level introductions to the themes, theories and controversies that connect archaeology to wider society, from the trade in illicit antiquities to the use of digital media in public engagement, and point readers to the most relevant case studies and learning resources to aid their further study.

This book is published as a ‘living book’ on UCL Press’s innovative digital platform. The first nine chapters are published in February 2017, with further chapters being added over the following months, to form an ongoing and developing resource on this fascinating topic.

Read it free online: https://goo.gl/NRaUkB
The Nicholson Museum

Associate Professor Judy Birmingham is a significant figure in the history of archaeology in Australia. She studied at the Institute of Archaeology in London under Sir Max Mallowan and undertook extensive fieldwork in the Middle East, Cyprus, Greece and Britain with some of the most famous and fascinating figures of 20th century archaeology. Beginning with the Near East, she went on to pioneer the development of Australian historical archaeology in the 1970s and 1980s, leading excavations at sites such as Irrawang, Wybalenna and Regentville.

Sharing memories of the resistance she overcame while developing Australian historical archaeology courses, Judy will talk what it was like to be the first female archaeological staff member at the University, and her involvement with the Nicholson and Macleay Museum collections over five decades.

[Editor: To read more about Judy's contribution to Historical Archaeology in Australia, see the 2006 edition of Australasian Historical Archaeology, which included papers in her honour.]

Details: Tuesday 21 March, 6pm, Nicholson Museum

Price: $40, $30 for Friends of the Nicholson Museum and their Guests; includes light refreshments. RSVP Book and pay online HERE, email nicholson.museum@sydney.edu.au or call (02) 9351 2812.

Image Credit: John Carmichael, 'Irrawang vineyard and pottery, East Australia', 1838. National Gallery of Australia.