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ASHA NEWS

Sarah Hayes

Absinthe Bottles and Prostitution in Early Colonial Melbourne

This absinthe bottle is one of 10 recovered from a rubbish pit associated with Mrs Bond’s grocer in Melbourne’s notorious Little Lon district. Absinthe, or the green fairy, was a hallucinogenic alcoholic drink available from the 18th century but reaching new heights of popularity in bohemian Paris in the late-19th century; coinciding nicely with the timing of Mrs Bond’s grocery. But was it a grocery? The absinthe bottles, along with French champagne bottles and 300 oyster shells, have led us to reinterpret the use of this site. Mrs Bond had been operating brothels in Little Lon for years and the historical documents gave the impression she had given it all up to run a respectable grocery business. The artefacts tell a different story. It seems her grocery was actually a cover for a high class brothel.

Sarah's professional facebook page, where this information was originally posted, can be found at:
https://www.facebook.com/SarahHResearch/?fref=ts

(Photos by Bronwyn Woff)

Originally posted by Elizabeth Foley

Registration is still open for the Victorian Archaeology Colloquium, to be held at La Trobe University on Friday 3 February 2017. Registration is inclusive of morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Please register via https://latrobe.onestopsecure.com/onestopweb/LTUEv/createbooking?e=ASSC_EV49

Program
8:30 Registration
9:00-9:30 Welcome to Country
9:30-10:00 Introduction
10:00-11:00 Session 1: Approaches: Methods and objectives
11:00-11:30 Morning tea
11:30-12:30 Session 2: Site-specific investigations
12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:30 Session 3: Regional Victoria
2:30-3:00 Afternoon tea
3:00-4:00 Session 4: Living on the edge: detection, recording and meaning of Aboriginal archaeological sites in Victoria
4:00-4:30 Conclusion

Original post by Emmy Frost

Applications are now open for the Victorian Archaeology Colloquium.

The annual Colloquium will be held on 3 February 2017 at the Institute for Advanced Study, La Trobe University, Bundoora. Traditional Owners residing over 100 km away are eligible to apply for a travel bursary to attend. Colloquium registerations are available on the following link:

https://latrobe.onestopsecure.com/onestopweb/LTUEv/createbooking?e=ASSC_EV49

A Pre-colloquium workshop is also available, which will provide participants with basic information for identifing and describing common stone types. To register for the pre-colloquium workshop, please proceed to

https://latrobe.onestopsecure.com/onestopweb/LTUEv/createbooking?e=ASSC_EV50

Original post by Annie Muir

Members may be interested to hear of a new partnership between Heritage Victoria and Google Cultural Institute. This partnership provides a new way for HV to share their collections with people across the world, via a free online platform.

For more information, please follow the link below.

https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/partner/heritage-victoria

Tour group exploring the History and Technology Store
Tour group exploring the History and Technology Store
Catherine Tucker,  Andrea Murphy and Bronwyn Woff

On Thursday 8 December 2016 members of ASHA and other non-member historic archaeologists and historians attended a guided tour of Museums Victoria’s storage facility in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, organised by ASHA committee members Bronwyn Woff and Catherine Tucker.

The storage facility provides tailored storage areas for objects when they are not on display at Museums Victoria’s three campuses at Melbourne Museum (Carlton), the Immigration Museum (CBD) and Scienceworks (Spotswood).

Mr Veegan McMasters (Senior Coordinator, Collections Storage and Logistics, Strategic Collection Management Department) showed us some of the 17 million objects housed by Museums Victoria – an extraordinary array of objects including everything from taxidermy animals, machinery, clothing and textiles, aeroplanes, to barbed wire and fencing equipment, handbags, signage, tools and household equipment through the ages. Veegan also explained the location system used by organisation, by which every object is barcoded and the location recorded on a live location system.

Artefacts excavated from the Commonwealth Block - land bounded by Lonsdale, Little Lonsdale, Spring and Exhibition Streets, and owned by the Commonwealth Government since 1948 - in Melbourne's CBD is also housed at this facility. The collection consists of artefacts from various excavations from 1988 to the present, and holds the largest nineteenth century urban historical archaeology collection in the world.

Research Assistant Bronwyn Woff explaining the Historical Archaeology Collection
Research Assistant Bronwyn Woff explaining the Historical Archaeology Collection

The resource is incredible and is certainly something that archaeologists from around Australia could consult. If anyone is interested in accessing the collection, images of some of the artefacts are found on Museums Victoria's “Collections Online” website. The search is easy to use, and you can filter by Collecting Area eg: Historical Archaeology, or search all of the Museums collections. For in-person viewing of the collection, access may be able to be organised through the Discovery centre. Links for these two sites can be found below:

Excavating a colonial-era Melanesian village site, south Tanna Island. (Courtesy of J. Flexner)
Excavating a colonial-era Melanesian village site, south Tanna Island. (Courtesy of J. Flexner)
Penny Crook

Historical archaeologists have been awarded three Discovery projects in the recently announced round of ARC-funding. The projects reflect the diversity of historical-archaeological research in the Australasian region, ranging from the archaeological vestiges of the Queensland Native Mounted Police, to the mining landscapes of regional Victoria and the Christian missionaries of Vanuatu. Details of each project are below.

The investment of over $1.73 million over 4 years demonstrates the competitiveness of, and interest in, historical archaeological research on the national stage.

We congratulate the chief investigators, Associate Professor Heather Burke, Associate Professor Susan Lawrence and Dr James Flexner, and all their locall and international collaborators, and wish them every success in their research.

THE PROJECTS

Associate Professor Heather Burke, Professor Bryce Barker, Professor Iain Davidson, Dr Lynley Wallis, Dr Noelene Cole, Ms Elizabeth Hatte and Dr Larry Zimmerman
The Flinders University of South Australia
$765,727, 4 years

This project plans to conduct a systematic archaeological study of the Queensland Native Mounted Police. While previous studies have focused on policing activities as revealed by the historical record, this project will combine material, oral and historical evidence from a range of sites across central and northern Queensland to understand more fully the activities, lives and legacies of the Native Police. This project aims to provide an alternative lens through which to understand the nature of frontier conflict, initiate new understandings of the Aboriginal and settler experience, and contribute to global studies of Indigenous responses to colonialism.

Associate Professor Susan Lawrence, Associate Professor Ian Rutherfurd, Dr Ewen Silvester, Dr Darren Baldwin, Professor Mark Macklin, Dr Peter Davies and Ms Jodi Turnbull
La Trobe University
$650,187, 4 years

By considering rivers as cultural artefacts, this project aims to evaluate how historical gold mining has shaped river systems in Victoria. Victoria’s historic mining industry led to extensive and long-lasting change to waterways across the state. The project plans to integrate approaches from landscape archaeology, physical geography, geomorphology and environmental chemistry to identify and map the extent of changes, including increased sedimentation, erosion, and chemical contamination. The project plans to demonstrate how historical mining continues to influence chemical and physical processes in Victorian streams and to develop understanding of the landscapes experienced by Victorians at the height of the mining boom. Project outcomes may provide improved context for catchment and reservoir management and counter prevailing impressions about causes of observed damage to rivers.

Dr James Flexner, Dr Stuart Bedford and Dr Frederique Valentin
The Australian National University
$317,698.00

This project aims to conduct an archaeological survey of Vanuatu. One of archaeology's most significant contributions is providing models for the emergence of cultural diversity through time. Vanuatu is one of the most diverse regions on Earth. The southern islands were an important hub in early settlement and long-term inter-island interactions of Island Melanesia. Yet little is known about the origins of cultural contacts and diversity in the area. A major archaeological survey of the Polynesian outliers Futuna and Aniwa and neighbouring islands Tanna and Aneityum would greatly improve our knowledge of settlement patterns, long-distance exchange, and cross-cultural interaction in the region, from initial Lapita settlement 3000 years ago through to the arrival of Christian missionaries in the 1860s.

The project will include archaeological survey and excavation as well as a survey of 19th and early 20th century museum collections, particularly looking at examples of stone and shell exchange valuables from Futuna, Aniwa, Aneityum, Tanna. These objects may provide evidence about connections to neighbouring island groups, including New Caledonia, Fiji, and possibly Western Polynesia.

Adze Blades from Southern Vanuatu, Geddie/Robertson Collection, Nova Scotia Museum (Courtesy of J. Flexner)
Adze Blades from Southern Vanuatu, Geddie/Robertson Collection, Nova Scotia. Museum (Courtesy of J. Flexner)

 

MORE INFORMATION

ARC Selection Report (Discovery Projects)

ARC Funding Announcements (Discovery Projects)