Making sense of the Winchelsea Stone Artefact Collection (part 1)

Directed Study in Archaeology- Working with the SANTS- Winchelsea Collection

By Sam Hedditch, Graduate Student

This is the first of my four blog posts for the semester.  I will first explain briefly my study and what it entails.

Recently, Flinders University was given temporary custody of a collection of apparently random stone artefacts from the South Australian Native Title Services Corporation. Very little is known of their origins, save for the fact that they were delivered to SANTS from the Wathaurong Aboriginal Community in North Geelong from Winchelsea, Victoria  and that the labels on the stones suggest that they were recovered from areas throughout South Australia. The recording of these artefacts was begun by the ARCH 8517 stone artefacts class in 2010 and is yet to be completed.

There are a range of objectives that I hope to achieve in my study:

  • Analyse and document the artefacts and present the information as  part of a database and report.
  • Take photos and illustrations of a range of artefacts to complement the database and report.
  • Conduct archival research to interpret the original intention of the artefacts’ collection.
  • Arrange all of this data to return to SANTS to provide greater information about them and perhaps inform their repatriation.

As a student quite new to lithics and archaeology in general, I am finding that this study is a great challenge. There are well over a hundred artefacts in the collection and they span from Port Macdonnel to The Coongie Lake near Innamincka in northern South Australia.  There are many resources to consult in order to understand the archaeological background of the areas that the artefacts come from. Hopefully this type of research will develop a greater understanding of where the artefacts fit in to a bigger picture.

There is lots of lithic analysis to be done, those who pop into the archaeology labs may find me there looking relatively bewildered as I measure and interpret these beautiful artefacts.  At this stage my analysis is preliminary and I am consulting with Dr Alice Gorman as to whether I am recording appropriately.  Once I am on the right track I’m sure that the other hundred and thirty three artefacts won’t take quite so long to record, will they?

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One response to “Making sense of the Winchelsea Stone Artefact Collection (part 1)

  1. Susan Arthure

    Great blog post Sam. It sounds like a really interesting project, I’ll call in to the lab soon and have a look.