On Monday 26th August, students in ARCH8517 The Archaeology of Australian Stone Tools completed their practical test. The test involved identifying specific features on flaked stone tools, as well as recording 17 different attributes on a number of artefacts. After everyone had finished, we celebrated the end of semester with drinks and snacks. Above: Vicky Baylem and Rani Attwood concentrate on their artefacts, not at all put off by Dr Alice Gorman hovering around them with a camera.
“And the backed blade was THIS big!”. Rita Kucera demonstrates to students (from left to right) Anastasia Tsimourtos, Karen Alexander, Robin Coles and Marie Butler. Emma Young and Autumn Wright are in the background.
The recent wedding of our beloved maritime archaeology lecturer, Ms Jennifer McKinnon, to the elegant Jason Raupp in Louisiana. Congratulations, Jen and Jason!
Duncan Wright presented a Master Class on island archaeology in Australia and the Pacific on Friday 28th August. Students had to create an island society as the class progressed, using playdough, and this was the result!
In the picture, from left to right, are Karen Alexander, Megan Berry, Amirul Affifudin, Matthew Harder and Karolyn Gauvin.
Our very own Lynley Wallis received an award from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council on Monday 3rd August, for “leadership and innovation in developing an outstanding graduate training programme in archaeology and cultural heritage management to produce industry-ready graduates.
Since joining the Department of Archaeology at Flinders University in 2005, Dr Wallis has been a dedicated teacher who captures the interest and imagination of students through her enthusiasm and passion for her discipline. She has been instrumental in creating a unique training program that has proven conclusively to be the leading provider of graduate education in these fields nationally, effecting a paradigm shift in the ways archaeology is taught in Australia”.
(Quote taken from Lynley’s citation).
On the 26th of March, 2009, Adjunct Associate Lecturer Ian Moffat gave a seminar entitled the Geophysical Detection of Historic Graves. The seminar room was filled with forty-one (41) fellow academics and students from the Department of Archaeology.
The seminar focused on the effects of geology on current grave detecting methods such as the magnetometer and the ground penetrating radar. There are three divisions of burials or graves; the Indigenous, the Clandestine, and the Historic. Ian’s case studies were focused on the latter division which included the Selheim Cemetery (North Queensland), the Pioneer Park Cemetery (Adelaide), the Encounter Bay Cemetery, and the Meadows Cemetery (Adelaide Hills).
The Selheim Cemetery was the most successful of the four case studies with the rediscovery of all thirty previously ‘lost’ burials. Both the Pioneer Park and Meadows Cemeteries case studies produced good quality data but the amount of time used was a minor setback. Geology and its effect on burial data analysis was profound in both the Encounter Bay and Meadows Cemeteries. The heavy vegetation in Encounter Bay and the sandy conditions at Meadows Cemetery have deterred the geophysical survey process.
Some of Ian’s conclusions at the end of the seminar were:
- the magnetometer and EMI methods are greatly affected by the presence of surface metal
- decrease in line spacing of GPR data leads to substantial increase in the ability to detect burials effectively
- GPR is more effective in sandy locations than in clay (contrary to previous studies)
- the greater the number of trees on the site, the slower and less effective are the geophysical methods
Even though I do not have an archaeology background, Ian’s presentation was very organised and was not too difficult to comprehend. His research and conclusions were well-received with various questions and comments from at least eight people in the audience.
Digitization Options for Flinders Field Schools
A Seminar Series Presentation by Amer Khan
Yesterday I attended the second presentation in the Archaeology Seminar Series. It was a presentation by Amer Khan of Flinders University discussing a digitization project he has been working on over the past couple of months with Flinders students James Sprott, Steven Lake, Massi Secci and Jacky Chen. Together they are working toward the creation of a web accessible digital database of information collected during maritime archaeological field schools. Though the project is still new, it is easy to envision it in full swing and imagine the possibilities that lie in the future.
Essentially the project will digitize data collected during field schools (at this point maritime archaeological field schools – though it has the potential to be applied to terrestrial archaeological field schools many others) such as site maps, site descriptions, reports etc. This will leave the data together in an easily accessible place, saving time for those who need to access it for future research and providing a place for the public and see what we are doing at Flinders field schools. As Amer mentioned, it will also likely be of interest to potential Flinders students who would like see the type of field opportunities available at the university. I found Amer’s presentation to be very interesting and look forward to seeing the outcome of the project when it is fully up and running.
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the first seminar of the weekly Department seminar series. The seminar titled Archaeology engaged: the Northern Territory Emergency Response was delivered by Claire Smith and was in my opinion probably one of the most personal and in that sense powerful lectures I’ve ever attended. While the lecture briefly touched on archaeology it should be said that the lecture was based more on the impact the NT National Emergency had on the Barunga Wugullar community in the Northern Territory, just one of the communities which were affected by the intervention.
The seminar addressed the different perceptions and outcomes of the intervention often negative but sometimes positive and because of Claire’s ongoing work with the community, the seminar was able to provide a more personal view of the intervention which is often so rarely discussed anymore. This seminar also demonstrated how interpersonal relationships develop in archaeology and it is often impossible to separate yourself from what may be happening.