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ASHA online lecture series

Landscapes of Production and Punishment – the archaeology of convict industry

6pm AEDT, Wednesday 16 March 2022

Professor Martin Gibbs (speaking), Dr Richard Tuffin and Caitlin d’Glyuas, all affiliated with the University of New England

Although the convict system has been a staple of Australian historical archaeological research, Kerr’s Design for Convicts remains the only attempt at a synthesis, albeit limited to the evolution of institutional sites for accommodation and punishment. However, as archaeologists continue to undertake surveys and excavations of convict work places and production sites (from quarries to culverts to buildings and landscapes), the question remains as to how we can incorporate these as part of our wider analysis and understanding of convict labour. Similarly, if we are to reconnect with the wider concerns of historians and sociologists, how do we link our archaeologies to multi-scalar issues where we have everything from the ‘big data’ showing en-masse where and how thousands of men, women and children were deployed in a vast range of situations across the colonies, versus accommodating personal life courses and individual experiences. This seminar presents an overview of the structure of the Landscapes of Production and Punishment project and a sample of the different projects being undertaken under its banner.

Conflicted histories: Historical archaeological research into the Queensland Native Mounted Police

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Professor Heather Burke, Flinders University The Queensland Native Mounted Police (QLD NMP) were the longest lasting force of their kind in Australia, but their operations as the colonial government‘s principal frontier agency were little known until about 40 years ago when historians began to shed light on their structure and activities. The four-year long ARC project set out to extend historical knowledge by documenting the physical remains of NMP camps across the state. The team identified 190 potential camps, visited and recorded 34 of them and excavated 8, and spoke widely with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Queenslanders on their stories, knowledge and beliefs about the NMP and frontier conflict. The archaeology of the QLD NMP project did not deal with the traditional archaeology of “war”, but revealed many complex and entangled meanings attached to these places and their objects, and how they are remembered or forgotten today.

The Genesis of Gunfighter Pā in Northern New Zealand

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Dr James Robinson, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

Following the Ngapuhi Rangatira (chief) Hongi Hika’s return from England to his home in Northland with 200 muskets in 1820, the process of learning how to use muskets as an effective means of offensive fighting began, and this is well documented in the 1820s during the period of inter-tribal fighting known as the “Musket Wars”. However, the first clear historic evidence of Māori defensive gunfighter pa appears over 20 years later Northern Wars battlefields of 1845-1846 when the specialist flatland pa of Ohaeawai and Ruapekapeka was encountered by the British. British officers at the time commented on the integrated range of defences they encountered that included encircling gun fighter pits providing enfilading fire, underground bunkers and tunnels and multiple palisade defences to protect against British muskets, cannon, and explosive mortar and howitzer artillery. While it has long been thought that the complex design of these two historic pas, that appear to arrive fully formed in the archaeological record, was a response to the British Military technology used in the ‘Northern Wars’. It is instead argued here that gunfighter pa were present from the 1820s onwards and were the genesis of these complex pa built to fight the British Imperial forces in 1845-6. This talk then explores how these gunfighter pa evolved, and why they are so hard to see archaeologically.

Archaeology of Convict Settlements in New Caledonia

6pm AEDT, Wednesday 16 March 2022

23 May 2023

Christophe Sand, Senior archaeologist of the New Caledonia Government; Research position at the French Research Institute for Development (IRD‐Noumea)

New Caledonia in Southern Melanesia has been a Convict Colony from 1864 until 1931. After a long period of disinterest for this historical sequence, a number of research projects have started on different aspects of this Pacific Convictism. Christophe has led a long‐term archaeological program on the topic over the past few decades, with the scope to highlight the potential contribution of archaeology to attain a better understanding of the complexity of the Convict Era in New Caledonia. The seminar will introduce the historical context and summarise the main studies undertaken, including the Central Depot of Ile Nou, on the penitentiary of Teremba or on convict buildings of Isle of Pines. The presentation will also discuss the types of material remains that have been unearthed, highlighting the massive import of French goods to New Caledonia during the second half of the 19th century.

Women and their houses in Victorian New Zealand – Christchurch Archaeology Project

26 July 2023

Dr Katharine Watson, Christchurch Archaeology Project

Analysis of women and houses in the Victorian world has typically focused on the gendered use of space within the house, drawing on advice manuals and often using the separate spheres model as an analytical lens (see, for example, the work of Jane Hamlett and Andrea Kaston Tange). There has been far less consideration of the relationship between women and the house as a whole, or the larger questions of what role a house might have played in women’s lives, and how women might have used their house for their own ends. This paper draws on my doctoral research and uses the techniques of buildings archaeology to explore the relationship between three women and their houses in Victorian Christchurch. In so doing, it reveals the house to have been far more than simply a space of domestic work and/or Victorian display for these women, but to have also been a source of power, income and independence.

Life & Death on the Goldfields – the Southern Cemeteries Archaeology Project

16 August 2023

Peter Petchey (presenting) and Hallie Buckley

Since 2016 the Southern Cemeteries Archaeology Project has studied a number of historic-period cemeteries in Otago New Zealand. It is a joint archaeological/ bioarchaeological project, which has been studying the remains of early European and Chinese settlers in rural Otago and the Otago goldfields, with a particular focus on the health, wellbeing, and experiences of the individuals who lived and died in colonial Otago. Four cemeteries have been investigated: St John’s Cemetery, Milton (that served a largely rural community); the Ardrossan Street (old) and Gabriel Street (new) cemeteries in Lawrence (that served a goldfields community); and the Drybread Cemetery in Central Otago (another goldfields community).

This talk presents some of the results of the investigations in to the lives of these people, as well as the archaeological landscapes that they lived, worked and died in. The project has been funded by a grant from the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Anatomy Department of Otago University.

ASHA 2021 Conference: Soundbytes

In the lead up to the 2021 conference, Amber Patterson-Ooi produced the following soundbytes which will tantalise your earbuds, and have you wishing you had attended the 2021 conference. You can find contact details for all of our presenters in the full conference program which is available to download at on the conference webpage.

James Hunter & Holger Deuter

In a highly collaborative project, Dr James Hunter of Australian National Maritime Museum and Professor Holger Deuter of HSKL – Fachbereich Bauen und Gestalten chat about their work on creating a VR dive on the wreck of the PS Herald.

Prof Alistair Paterson

Here, Professor Alistair Paterson, ARC Future Fellow at Uni of WA gave us a little snippet of insight into his fascinating research to hear about his research into the pearl fishery industry.

Greg Hil

Greg Hil, PhD candidate for Archaeology at La Trobe University chats about the paper he presented for our conference this year. There was fascinating insights into understanding how 31.5 million cubic metres of sediments from Bendigo goldfields has impacted the landscape – and the implications this has on associated cultural heritage.

Christine, Bronwyn & Nadia – Show & Tell

Dr Christine Williamson, Bronwyn Woff and Nadia Bajzelj from Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants bring us a snippet of their paper ‘Show and Tell’. Sometimes, it’s just all about how cool an artefact is!

Sean Winter

One of the Sessions we are hosted this year is The Archaeology of Underfloor Occupation Deposits. This intriguing session was chaired by Sean Winter (The University of Western Australia and Snappy Gum Heritage Services) and Helen Runciman (The University of Western Australia. In this sound byte, Sean gives an overview of some of the presentations which were presented.

Claire Baxter

Listen in to Claire Baxter speaking about her research on why thinking about statues and monuments could be re-framed to see them as archaeology – material culture that we still use.