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ASHA NEWS



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.

 





The Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria

The Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria is a group that promotes the study of archaeology, anthropology, ethno-archaeology and ethno-history in both Australia and further abroad. Lectures, from a range of talented presenters, are held every third Thursday of the month at 6:30pm at the The Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre at 251 Faraday St, Carlton.

Sign up with Eventbrite and we’ll know you’re coming.

For more information, please see: http://aasv.org.au/lectures/
The Johnston Collection

The Johnston Collection, housed in Fairhall, East Melbourne, is holding the Annual William Johnston Exhibtion-House Tour from February-May 2017. The Collection is the legacy of William Robert Johnston (1911-1986) an antique dealer and collector and the Annual Tour focuses on the original arrangement of Johnston's collection in Fairhall Exhibition House when it was first opened to the public.

For more information, please see: https://www.johnstoncollection.org/


Complied by Bronwyn Woff

The Australasian Institute for Maratime Archaeology and Heritage Victoria are running an Introduction to Maritime Archaeology course on 22-23 April 2017. More details regarding the course (Part 1) can be found at http://www.aima-underwater.org.au/parts-i-iv/  

For more information, please contact Peter Harvey: Peter.Harvey@delwp.vic.gov.au .



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)

Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

 
The Melbourne Free University is running a series of lectures entitled "History Matters". The lectures run from 6.30 - 8.00pm at The Alderman in Brunswick East.

Upcoming lectures include:
16 March - Susan Lawrence - Liquid gold: How controlling water made Victoria's miners rich
23 March - Nadia Rhook - Speaking in grids: the order of language from slums to Marvellous Melbourne
30 March - Katie Holmes - History of ANZAC
6 April - Liz Conor - Graphic distortions: The comic misadventures of cartoonist Eric Jolliffe's Whitchetty's Tribe (as read against 18C and other Whiteman Hissyfits)

 

For more information, please see the following link: http://www.melbournefreeuniversity.org/courses/history-matters/

Bronwyn Woff and Cathy Tucker

Please join us for a tour of Museum Victoria's dedicated storage facility on Friday 17th March 2017 followed by lunch at the Post Office Hotel in Coburg.



Attendees of the last tour enjoyed exploring the various objects of State significance at the storage facility late in 2016. Spots are limited so make sure you sign up soon!

See the following blog post for more on what the attendees of the last tour experienced:

http://www.asha.org.au/news/museum_store_tour


 


Bronwyn Woff, Research Associate, La Trobe University

The fragment of glass illustrated in the images below was found in the 1988 excavation season of Melbourne's Little Lon district. This area was reported to be a slum, with a mixed use of domestic and light industrial lots.


Crown glass window pane fragment. LL71844 Historical Archaeology Collection, Museums Victoria. Images: Bronwyn Woff

The glass fragment is the central panel of a spun crown glass sheet, which was created in the manufacture of glass for window panes. Hot glass was spun on a pontil rod so that it slowly spread into a large disc up to 1400mm wide. Because of this manufacturing technique, the glass was thicker at the centre than at the edges. The majority of glass imported to Australia from Britain before 1834 was manufactured in this way, as taxes and duties were lower than for other manufacturing techniques (Boow, 1991 pp.100-102). This glass fragment can be dated to between 1788 and the 1860s (Boow, 1991 pp.100-104).

Crown Glass being spun flat by glass makers. Image from “Glass in Architecture and Decoration” by Raymond McGrath & A.C. Frost, 2nd Edition, London, 1961 [1937], p. 75 via : https://blog.mcny.org/2014/11/25/whats-in-an-artifact-crown-glass/    (accessed February 28, 2017.)

In this case, the whole sheet was used and the central section was cut into a pane of glass with the "bulls eye" pontil mark in place. In some cases, these were ground out or otherwise modified so that the pontil mark was not evident, but in this example the snapped off pontil mark protrudes at least 5mm from the flat glass. One straight-cut edge of the window pane is present on the shortest side. Because of the flaw present in the glass, this window pane would have been much cheaper to purchase than a thin, outer fragment and this may reflect the buying power of the owners of the residential property where it was found at Little Lon.

 


"Spectactular clear bullseye glass panes in an English house" via: http://www.peachridgeglass.com/2012/04/the-bulls-eye-glass-pane/  (accessed February 28, 2017)


Bronwyn is currently working as a subcontracting archaeologist, cataloger and analyst. She is contactable via: bronwyn_woff@outlook.com.au
Originally posted on the Lost Trades Fair website

Rundell and Rundell Lost Trades Fair
Saturday 11th - Sunday 12th March 2017
Kyneton Racecourse, 10am - 4pm

The Lost Trades Fair was born on the principle that people are fascinated when artisans and craftspeople openly demonstrate their skills and share their knowledge. Meet the makers; armourers, chairmakers, coopers, blacksmiths, leatherworkers, silversmiths and stonemasons; over 100 traditional artisans - start planning a road trip to the fabulous central highlands, Victoria and enjoy a 'lost weekend' at the most inspiring event you will experience in 2017.

For more information, please see: http://www.losttrades.info/
Bronwyn Woff

The ASHA Blog Editor and the ASHA Committee would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the ASHA Blog.

The blog replaces the long-running ASHA Newsletter as a way for members to receive information regarding Australasian Historical Archaeology. It aims to encourage the sharing of information between ASHA members, members of the wider archaeological community, and the general public. The blog contains information regarding archaeological research, excavations and upcoming events, and will be the platform for posting our Artefact of the Month articles.

Each post will be tagged with topics as appropriate, and visitors to the blog can search using these tags under the Recent Postssection on the left hand side of the page. As yet, this option is not available for mobile devices. These tags include the region which the post refers to, as well as various broad topics, for example "Glass" or "Research".

Visitors can also subscribe to receive updates about the ASHA Blog at the bottom of the blog page.

We hope that you enjoy reading up-to-date information via our blog. If you wish to make a submission, please email your regional representative (the details of which are found here)  or by emailing the Editor at: newsletter@asha.org.au

Happy reading!

Bronwyn Woff
ASHA Blog Editor
newsletter@asha.org.au