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ASHA NEWS

Dr Matthew Kelly, Curio Projects

In October 1942, during the Kokoda Campaign in Papua New Guinea (PNG), two Japanese soldiers died in a small pit in the Eora Creek valley opposing the Australian Army’s advance north.Archaeological work between 2011 and 2019 has recovered their remains, identified their role in the battle and more recently uncovered what probably killed these two young men.

An archaeological survey of the Etoa site, near Eora Creek, was undertaken in July 2011 with a team of six Australian archaeologists and members of the local community of Alola.[1] During that survey a small single man fighting pit (EB-11-1053) was excavated, by several villagers, and a number of artefacts were recovered from the fill. At the very base of the pit a large rectangular artefact was retrieved (Figure 1). In addition, several small artefacts were also recovered which included, some lengths of cloth covered wire, Japanese 6.5 mm shell casings, live Japanese 6.5 mm rounds and the fragments of earpieces and microphones of a radio (Figure 2). It was difficult to identify the large artefact as it was encased by the adhering soil matrix and corrosion. The obvious fragility of the artefact required the careful removal of successive layers of corrosion back at the camp to reveal what it was.With the soil etc. removed the remains of a Japanese Model 94 Type 5 Radio transmitter were exposed (Figure 3).

Japanese radio remains as excavated from pit. (Photo source: M Kelly 2011)
Figure 1. Japanese radio remains as excavated from pit. (Photo source: J Sterenberg 2011)


Figure 2. Japanese radio remains as excavated from pit. (Photo source: J Sterenberg 2011)

Japanese Type 94-5 Radio transmitter.  (Photo source: TM-E 30-480, p. 307)
Figure 3. Japanese Type 94-5 Radio transmitter. (Photo source: TM-E 30-480, p. 307)

Previous historical research had revealed that the Australian Army had captured a Japanese radio during the October 1942 battle.[2] It appears therefore that the Australians dumped the captured transmitter into an empty weapons pit after recording its capture.However, the pit that had once contained the operators, receiver, power generator, as well as their associated equipment, had yet to be identified.

Eight years later, in August 2019, excavations were taking place in several weapons pits across the site of Etoa (see Figure 4).[3] One large pit was severely disturbed by massive root growth that entirely enveloped the contents.The partial remains of two bodies were exposed in this pit (EB-19-51). The paucity of skeletal remains precluded any attempt to identify the cause of these men’s death.

Pit EB-19-051 in the course of excavation in 2019 by NMAG staff and locals.  (Photo source: M Kelly 2019)
Figure 4. Pit EB-19-051 in the course of excavation in 2019 by NMAG staff and locals. (Photo source: M Kelly 2019)

The artefacts recovered from within this pit included: an unexploded Australian No. 36 grenade; a Japanese bayonet, still in its scabbard; two morphine vials; buttons from a Japanese shirt; a clip of Japanese 6.5 mm rounds; a coiled length of fabric covered copper wire; and earpieces from a radio which matched some of those found in 2011.Here was the radio pit, with apparently the two radio operators lying where they had been killed, with remnants of their radio equipment.This pit was approximately 50 m south of pit EB-11-1053 which had the radio transmitter buried in it. [4]

Several additional artefacts were recovered of which some were easily identifiable while others took some more research to classify (Figure 5).The identifications included personal items such as a Seiko watch, equipment for servicing the radio, nails and screws from carrying boxes but one small metal fragment’s final identification provided the information on the probable way these radio men lost their lives.The fragment turned out to be the guide for a striker spring of an Australian No 36 Grenade. The force of the grenade’s explosion forces the thin tube to crush against the spring creating a characteristic spiral groove on the inside of the tube. This fragment indicated that an Australian grenade had exploded within the pit, no doubt killing or mortally wounding the occupants of the pit where they lay until 2019.

Selection of artefacts from pit EB-19-051.  They include portion of Japanese helmet liner (1), small multi-head screwdriver (2), Seiko wristwatch (3), press stud (4), small buckle (5), belt/strap keeper (6), and small spanner (7).  The striker spring guide of an Australian No 36 Grenade is indicated by arrow. (Photo source: M Kelly 2019)
Figure 5. Selection of artefacts from pit EB-19-051. They include portion of Japanese helmet liner (1), small multi-head screwdriver (2), Seiko wristwatch (3), press stud (4), small buckle (5), belt/strap keeper (6), and small spanner (7). The striker spring guide of an Australian No 36 Grenade is indicated by arrow. (Photo source: M Kelly 2019)



References

AHMS, 2011, Eora Creek, Stage 2, Final Report, report for the Lost Battlefield Trust.

AWM52 8/3/3/16, 2/3 Infantry Battalion War Diary July-December 1942, Canberra.

Curio Projects, 2019, Interim Report on Archaeological Work, August 2019, Etoa Battlefield, report for PNG National Museum and Art Gallery.

US War Department, 1944, Technical Manual TM-E 30-480, Handbook on Japanese Forces 1944, Washington.



[1] AHMS, 2011, Eora Creek, Stage 2, Final Report, report for the Lost Battlefield Trust.

[2] 2/3 Infantry Battalion War Diary July-December 1942.

[3] The current work is being undertaken in association with the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery (NMAG) and the Japanese Association for Recovery and Repatriation of War Casualties (JARRWC), Curio Projects, 2019, Interim Report on Archaeological Work, August 2019, Etoa Battlefield, report for PNG National Museum and Art Gallery.

[4] The larger radio receiver unit and hand crank power generator are yet to be found.


Compiled by Blog Editor

50 years ago, on the 26th November 1970, the first Australian Society for Historical Archaeology (ASHA) meeting was held at the University of Sydney. That evening, ASHA was founded to promote the study of historical archaeology in Australia. In 1991, the Society was expanded to include New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region, and its name was changed to the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology. To celebrate 50 years of ASHA, we will be holding a special event and hope you can join us.

The event will take place on Thursday 26 November 2020 and run for 2 hours:

•6:30pm AEDT (3:30pm AWST, 5:30pm AEST, 6:00pm ACDT, 8:30pm NZDT)

•8:30pm AEDT (5:30pm AWST, 7:30pm AEST, 8:00pm ACDT, 10:30pm NZDT)

Schedule for the evening

6:30pm - Opening - ASHA President Anita Yousif

6:35pm - Welcome to Country

6:40pm - The Establishment of ASHA - Andrew Wilson

6:50-7:30pm ASHA 1970 - 2020 Past Presidents

7:30pm - 50 Sites 50 Stories announcement - Anita Yousif

7:35pm - ASHA Awards winners revealed Dr Matthew Kelly

7:45pm - A Reminiscence - Judy Birmingham

8:00pm - Raise a glass to the founding of ASHA.

Raise a glass to ASHA's 50th Anniversary- Denis Gojak

8:05-8:30 - Display of photos celebrating ASHA and historical archaeology in Australasia.

The celebration will take place at the University of Sydney with a limited number of tickets to attend and an unlimited zoom attendence.

To register see link below

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/asha-50th-anniversary-tickets-128587104491

On the evening Andrew Wilson, from the University of Sydney, will be talking about the establishment of ASHA. To help start the celebrations, Andrew has provided us with some great images from the Archives

ASHA 50 Years-From the Archives

The establishment of the society and especially the early newsletters brought responses from all over Australia from people interested in historical sites and artefacts. Many had associations with existing organisations such as the National Trust or local historical societies while others saw the society as validating their personal interests or experiences and wished to contribute where they could.

 
Compiled by Penny Crook

The 2019 ASHA Conference was held in Port Macquarie, in Birpai Country on the NSW mid-north coast, 13–16 October. It was a busy few days with site tours, workshops and two days of papers discussing current issues in local and global historical archaeological research and heritage management.

In his Keynote address Richard Shing, Director of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, provided a detailed introduction to the fascinating history and archaeology of Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu from its roots in Lapita culture 3,000 years ago to colonial contact and invasion from 17th to 20th centuries, and its development since Independence in 1980.

The successive occupations of the British and French in the late-19th century, and the American forces in World War II, have left a legacy of demographic change, dispossession of traditional land and disruption to local customs. It also produced a complex landscape of colonial-era buildings that overlie pre-colonial sites.

The oldest surviving colonial structure, the 1853 stone house built by missionaries Reverend John and Charlotte Geddie on Aneityum Island, preserved pre-colonial strata along with extraordinary archaeological evidence of culture contact. At the threshold of the study John Geddie interred spirit stones to remind local Aneityumese that they were stepping over their customary beliefs to hear the word of God.

Amidst the challenges of cultural site management in the Pacific, with development pressure and the impact of tourism, there is for some a unique displeasure in preserving of decaying buildings of an oppressive rule. As Richard noted, the atrocities of the colonial era remain in living memory and the narrative of this era is often simplified to one of ‘cruel masters and benign slaves’. Archaeology provides a way to mediate this history.

As Director of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, Richard has overseen the collaboration between archaeologists and local Islanders who have excavated many sites spanning Lapita to colonial eras. A dedication to community outreach, events, publications and skill-building has seen young Ni-Vanuatu school children work on excavations and go on to pursue careers in archaeology.

It was a privilege to conference goers that we could hear this account first hand. ASHA is grateful to Richard for making the time in his busy schedule to share his knowledge with us. Thanks also to James Flexner and the University of Sydney for assisting with travel arrangements.

The Keynote address was proudly sponsored by GML Heritage.

Further Reading

Flexner, James L. 2013. Mission archaeology in Vanuatu: Preliminary findings, problems, and prospects. Australasian Historical Archaeology 31: 14.

Zubrzycka, Adele, Martin J. Jones, Stuart Bedford, James L. Flexner, Matthew Spriggs, and Richard Shing. 2018. Misi Gete’s mission house: archaeological investigations of the oldest surviving colonial building in the New Hebrides. Australasian Historical Archaeology 36: 38.

‘Keynote Presenter, Richard Shing during his presentation in the Glasshouse Studio and post presentation with the 2019 Conference organising committee. Left to right: Bronwyn Woff, Jane Rooke, Anita Yousif, Richard Shing, Nick Pitt and Caiti D’Gluyas’.


Written by Blog Editor

Just two more weeks to go until National Archaeology Week kicks off in Australia! The week begins on 21st May, and there are lots of events happening in and around the week (most are free!) that you can pop in to and spread the word about the wonderful archaeological work going on across the country! For more information, including a calendar of events, see: http://www.archaeologyweek.com/

Written by the AIMA/ASHA 2018 Conference Committee

Come see all the research that’s been hiding!
Come hear all the results that haven’t seen the light of day!
Come and listen to all the wondrous things people have done in the past!

Welcome to the 2018 AIMA/ASHA conference, proudly brought to you by University of New England!

The Clearinghouse is all about dusting off that old research and getting it out into the light. It’s time for the honours thesis you did ten years ago to be presented, that project you did in that in-between year to show itself, and for the “I really should do something with that” to finally have something done with it…by presenting at this year’s AIMA/ASHA conference 27-28 September 2018.

Just to be clear, we want genuine research and good presentations, not a slide show of your summer holidays. For this reason we’re keeping the themes as broad as we can. Fear not if you don’t think your research fits in, we want you to submit your abstract anyway and we’ll find a place for it!

We are looking forward to seeing you in Parramatta!

The Clearinghouse Conference Details:
When: 27 - 29 September 2018
Where: UNE Campus Parramatta

For more information on: Call for papers, Draft Conference schedule, Registration and Conference sponsors please see: http://www.asha.org.au/2018-asha-aima-conference


Written by Prof. Martin Gibbs

As part of the ARC Discovery Project  Landscape of Production and Punishment: the Tasman Peninsula 1830-77, we are pleased to offer our second PhD Scholarship Opportunity to work with Prof. Martin Gibbs (UNE), A.Prof David Roberts (UNE) and Prof. Hamish Maxwell-Stewart (UTas), alongside staff of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (Dr David Roe, Dr Jody Steele, Ms Susan Hood) and project Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Richard Tuffin on the historical archaeology of the Tasman Peninsula and the Port Arthur convict site. Further information about the project is available at: (https://www.une.edu.au/about-une/academic-schools/school-of-humanities/research/current-funded-research/landscapes-of-production-and-punishment) or in our recent paper: Tuffin, R., M. Gibbs, D. Roberts, H. Maxwell-Stewart, D. Roe, J. Steele, S. Hood and B. Godfrey 2018 ‘Landscapes of Production and Punishment: Convict labour in the Australian context’, Journal of Social Archaeology 18(1): 50–76.

We are advertising the scholarship with two project possibilities (applicants should address which one they are interested in):

1. A historical archaeological study of Point Puer: Point Puer was the first purpose-built reforming institution for criminal boys in the British Empire (operating 1834-48). The project will focus on industrial training and outputs, drawing on extensive documentary sources as well as existing archaeological and museum records and material culture resources. Further survey of landscapes and structures may be required, although no further excavation is proposed. This project will closely align and work in conjunction with the main project and the other studies of industrial production at Port Arthur including material analyses.

2. A historical archaeological study of maritime infrastructure and operations at Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula: Port Arthur and associated convict sites across the Tasman Peninsula relied heavily upon maritime transport and engaged in a variety of maritime industries and activities during the convict period. This project will explore the nature and role of the various maritime related activities associated with the convict era on the Tasman Peninsula, with a focus on maritime infrastructure and industrial sites including the dockyard and the extensive wharfs, jetties and facilities. The project will require re-evaluation and synthesis of previous studies, extensive additional archival research and analysis, further survey, and potentially analysis of structures and material culture, depending on the final form of the project. No excavation is proposed. This project will work in conjunction with the main project.

Applicants should have Honours or Masters level qualifications in archaeology and be concerned with the anthropological dimensions of the archaeological record. It is essential that applicants have well-developed skills in using historical documents in support of archaeological research as well as skills in artefact or structural analysis as relevant to the project they are applying for. The successful candidate will be expected to work under the direction of and in collaboration with the main project team. There will be a requirement for co-publication of results. The final form of the project will be determined through consideration of the skills of the candidate.

The successful candidate will be resident at UNE Armidale, with fieldwork in Tasmania as required. Funding will be made available for basic travel and accommodation. The Scholarship includes a 3-year full-time UNE funded PhD studentship providing tuition fees and living allowance stipend.Stipend is $26,682 per annum tax free for full-time internal students, paid in fortnightly installments.

To discuss this role please contact Professor Martin Gibbs, phone: (02) 6773 2656 or email: [email protected]

Please check out the full details on the UNE Scholarships website: https://www.une.edu.au/research/hdr/hdr-scholarships/landscape-of-production-and-punishment

Written by Richard Morrison

An inaugural, joint, free Maritime Contact Rock Art Symposium between the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology and the Canberra Archaeological Society will be held at the beginning of the 2018 Canberra and Region Heritage Festival at the National Museum of Australia. This event will be help on 14th April 2018, between 9.30am and 12.00pm.

The symposium will comprise a series of illustrated presentations and stories by rock art experts and other archaeologists describing investigations into a range of depictions, found across Australia, of European and other sea craft encountered by Aboriginal Australians. This will be followed by a Q&A panel. (See programme below.)

Bookings can be made at https://maritimecasasha.eventbrite.com.au


Compiled by Blog Editor

A reminder that National Archaeology Week (20-26 May 2018) is fast approaching!

If you have an event you wish to advertise, or if you want to check out what's on, go to: http://www.archaeologyweek.com/ where you'll find a state-by-state events list. You can also find National Archaeology Week on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/archaeologyweek/

The state representatives are:
NSW – Helen Nicholson - [email protected]
Qld – Paddy Waterson - [email protected]
SA – Antoinette Hennessy - [email protected]
Tas – Samuel Dix – [email protected]
Vic – Caroline Spry – [email protected]
WA – Wendy Reynen – [email protected]

And if you are posting on social media, please remember to use the hashtag #2018NAW

Written by AHA Editors

A reminder that submissions to Australasian Historical Archaeology are due on 31 March.  We welcome original articles and short reports about historical archaeology in Australasia and the wider region. Please see the website for more information.

If you would like to contribute but need more time please contact us before the deadline to discuss options (email: [email protected]).

Regards,
Annie Clark, Penny Crook, James Flexner & Sarah Hayes
Editors
Australasian Historical Archaeology



Dr Jennifer Rodrigues

Call for papers: People and the sea: current research on maritime interactions between Southeast Asia and the wider world

Session Chairs:
Dr Jennifer Rodrigues, Western Australian Museum ([email protected]useum.wa.gov.au)
Ms Abhirada Pook Komoot, University of Western Australia ([email protected])

The interconnections of two major Oceans—the Indian and Pacific Oceans—have dominated Southeast Asian maritime heritage for thousands of years, enabling movement of, and interaction between, people, ideas and goods. Confirmation of the relationship between Southeast Asia with other regions is evidenced in the dispersal of Austronesian languages, spoken widely in Southeast Asia. Due to the sea providing travel routes to distant regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the expansion of the languages suggests that people from Southeast Asia migrated to both sides—eastward to Oceania and Africa to the west. Furthermore, influences of maritime activities have spread beyond ports and maritime settlements. Research has revealed that mainland Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam also benefited from nautical skills through their complex riverine networks. Material traces from the hinterland and along coastal rims of both oceans, show that Southeast Asia has long been a dynamic region with an intense mix of cultures in its geographical crossroads. In ancient times, Southeast Asia was the only maritime gateway to China from the west. Research on maritime history in Southeast Asia, therefore, is crucial in defining the foundations of modern economic patterns.

This session welcomes researchers and young scholars from a wide range of fields and disciplines to share their work on Southeast Asia’s maritime past. It aims to gain, and discuss, new insight into the maritime history of the region’s connections with the wider world. Papers may include, but are not limited to, studies in material culture, traditional practices, and awareness-raising programmes through preservation and interpretation of the archaeological resources. Raising public awareness of the importance and potential of our maritime heritage can enrich our understanding of the past, and help forge cooperation and common ground for preserving and appreciating our shared heritage.

IPPA: Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association

Please send presentation abstract proposals (approx. 250 words) to both Session Chairs by end January 2018.