Category Archives: Posts from the field

Posts about fieldwork

Port MacDonnell Jetty: Is that a pylon, or a pile??

By Maddy McAllister (MMA Student)

The recent Flinders University Advanced Maritime Archaeology Practicum was held in Port MacDonnell and saw 8 students and volunteers assist two post-grad students in their field research, under the supervision of Jennifer McKinnon and Wendy van Duivenvoorde. Maddy Fowler’s research looked into an unidentified shipwreck site on the beach, while Purdina Guerra’s Master’s thesis saw most of us spend a lot of long hours on a seemingly simple, short jetty.

Port MacDonnell Jetty
Port MacDonnell Jetty

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Port MacDonnell: The Jetty and The Unknown Shipwreck

By Safwan Jalil (MMA student)

This is about the Maritime Archaeology Field School on Port MacDonnell, South Australia from 3 to 11 July. This is my first time ever doing an archaeological field school in Australia. The field school was supervised by two Flinders University staff: Wendy Van Duivenvoorde and Jennifer McKinnon. Twelve students were in this field school altogether, some doing it as volunteers while others doing it as a class subject.

The Unknown Shipwreck

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Futtocks, gunwales, catheads – OH MY!

It’s Friday and you know what that means – Master Classes! Today we ran a master class called “Ships as material culture.” This MC examined the “ship” as an artefact. From the wood it was constructed with to all of the fittings like winches, capstans, anchors and cannons, we explored their use, materials and positions on ships. A few fun exercises got the hearts racing. The first was to label the basic ship timbers in a frame-first constructed vessel. The second exercise was a bit more challenging and had a bountiful book prize. Participants were split into teams and given a ship model to label. Approximately fifty ship parts were on the list to be labelled with little stickers. Our winners were Lynda Bignell, Roger Halliday, Phyllis Coxhill and Maddy McCallister. Congratulations!

I think everyone walked away with a finer appreciation of ship construction. When you next see Lynda, Roger, Phyllis and Maddy ask them what a “cathead” is and I’m sure the will enlighten you.


Phyllis and Maddy hard at work labeling

Mannum boat recording

Hello from Mannum on the river. We are here recording small river watercraft for Phyllis Coxhill’s Honours thesis project. So far we’ve taken the lines off both the port and starboard sides and are taking scantling measurements of timbers. It’s been a challenge trying to measure the boat with another boat over our heads. Lots of bumps on our heads.

The two boats in the photograph are called punts. They’d be used for travelling and fishing and other activities. They are flat-bottomed with no keel and have a hard chine. The interesting bits are the repairs and alterations made during its working life. We’ll be looking for and recording those too.


Mt. Dutton Bay Maritime Archaeology Field School: one student’s experience

By Pete Colvin

Each year Flinders University runs a maritime archaeology field school as a part of its commitment to student skills development. This year was no exception: from the 31st January to 12th February 2011, an intensive period of field work was conducted in the Mount Dutton Bay region. In previous visits made to this area Mount Dutton Bay was known to have significant historic and maritime cultural heritage potential. It was from these previous visits that the 2011 field school developed, its aim was to conduct further survey and excavation work on the historic shipwreck Caprice and to further develop and understand the maritime cultural landscape of the area.

Mt. Dutton Bay Maritime Archaeology Field School students and staff, 2011

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