On Tuesday the 8th of April, I met with Aphrodite for the first time. Unfortunately, the storage area was flooded due to local storms and as a result she was kept busy dealing with the disaster, but I was given access to the collections from the Americas and she asked me to familiarize myself with the collection as well as take a preliminary inventory of some of the Central American artefacts to make sure none were missing. She also explained what she wanted me to do, such as the forms she needed me to fill out and what she expected of the photographs, etc.
As it happened, one of the ceramic dishes from box 1292, shelf 6 was missing. Some of the boxes that were meant to be on shelf 6 were on shelves 5 and 7, so I hope that during further research it may turn out to have been placed in the wrong box, and that it may have been misplaced rather than truly lost.
Some of the artefacts I examined had clearly been put on display before; the display cards were present in the box along with the artefacts. The collection from Central America which I had been asked to inventory contained several intact earthenware pitchers and several glazed ceramic dishes that had been a private collection. The pitchers were glazed inside, but only halfway down the outside of the vessel. The dishes were white glazed and decorated with bright blue, green, and yellow markings. They were all in good condition, considering their age; most dated to the early 1900’s according to museum records and accompanying handwritten notes placed inside the pitchers and only had a few chips and scratches to show for their hundred years of existence. Most were originally received as gifts, and most likely they were cherished and well-preserved.
In the course of familiarizing myself with the collections from the Americas, I found a series of hand-woven baskets from Western North America, the area that is now Seattle, according to the accompanying notes. The baskets were interesting to me, because they had familiar patterns woven into the fabric of them; patterns that I grew up seeing during my early days growing up on a reservation in Northern California. It is possible that my tribe made the baskets and that they ended up in the Seattle area through trade networks. Just out of curiosity (since I am meant to be working on the Central American stuff) I am checking the patterns with my family back home.
The Americas collections also include things such as peace pipes and costumes, as well as stone artefacts, dolls, shoes and various garments. It was all incredibly interesting. I spent about three hours doing the inventory and examining the collections. When I was done with that, I had to call it a day because I had to head into town to go to work.
For my directed study in Cultural Heritage Management I am working with Griffith University’s Indigenous Research Network to attempt to find answers to some of the many concerns and issues that arose as part of Griffith’s whole of university approach to the development and implementation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander undergraduate curricula.
There has been ongoing dialogue, research and focus on the sharing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge in the Griffith University area of south-east Queensland (SEQ). A combined SEQ traditional Owner group emphasised in their public documents that even though Indigenous knowledge may have consistent themes throughout Australia, it is the specifically local aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge that are most valued by those who have preserved them most useful to those who seek to retain and maintain cultural landscapes in the face development pressure. Questions over whose values are upheld and whether preservation and management can coexist have been raised with regards to both physical remains of cultural activity encountered and Indigenous knowledge collected, stored and transmitted through educational institutions.
To investigate cultural heritage management of both tangible and intangible Indigenous culture I have undertaken an environmental scan of the publicly available policy of a number of universities and Traditional Owner entities to determine how Indigenous authority is maintained over cultural heritage management. The intention is to provide suggested frameworks and processes for the collaborative development of policy/strategy that reflects the expectations of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and meets the needs of the institution.
As part of my CHM practicum I am working with the World Archaeological Congress (WAC). I will be working within the Global Libraries Program, maintaining the Global Library at Flinders Uni and helping out the Global Libraries Program Committee.
The Global Libraries Program aims to develop the archaeological literary collections of low income institutions. Supporting such libraries will assist archaeological and cultural heritage management students and professionals to undertake and excel at their study and work. There are currently 50 libraries from 40 different countries receiving donations.
My first task with the committee was to research the possibility of opening a Global Library in Gaza. This consisted of researching the area and understanding the current academic needs and limitations. I investigated this by tracking down local archaeologists for their views/opinions of the program, their need for a library, as well as community groups and universities (again to assess academic needs and limitations), and trying to find a safe location for the library itself. My second task with the Global Libraries Program is to research international copyright/intellectual property laws, to see whether Global Libraries are legally able to upload and distribute journal articles, e-books and other academic materials throughout their libraries, without infringing any international or domestic copyright laws. This has been an interesting task!
I am really happy to be working with WAC. I hope that my work can contribute or be helpful to WAC in some way. What I hope to gain from this practicum is some insight into how an international organisation such as WAC functions, how a program such as the Global Libraries Program can aid and impact global communities, and overall gain some workplace experience and improve my research skills.
Good luck with your studies!!
Today is the first day of my internship at Naracoorte Caves. I’m down here to do some work on the conservation of the caves themselves. I’ll be down here for about a week before coming back to Adelaide to work on the report (though I may yet find myself back down here in the new year).
So far its been fantastic, and just a bit full on. I arrived lunch time yesterday, and jumped straight into looking around Victoria Fossil Cave. I’ve spent this morning crawling around on my hands and knees while getting acquainted with Wet Cave, before heading to Blanche Cave where there is some amazing historic graffiti.
This afternoon I’ve been investigating Alexandra Cave, and will soon head back to Wet Cave to see if I can find any historic graffiti there, as well as taking another look at some of its conservation issues…
Whew! It took a lot of work but I too am celebrating with the rest of the Directed Studies gang! We got to hand up our work on Monday! Now all that’s left is the poster and presentation on Friday! (ah!)
Fern Avenue has been an interesting ride. From sorting out thirteen boxes of all sorts of materials to meeting with the Unley Museum and Community Gardens Group, what has been found? Significance wise: The collection has lots of local significance for the Community Gardens. To them it represents the history of their Gardens and they feel a strong connection to the folks that worked all those long hours to make some of the best jam in Adelaide (apparently!)
The collection itself is not in the best of shape so the Community Gardens Group has decided to take control of the entire lot and incorporate it into a landscape plan next to the remains of the factory. Some of the metal, glass and ceramic artefacts will be incorporated into some paving and a mosaic of the Fullarton Jam Factory logo. A few of the more fragile and interesting artefacts such as the toy car and bone handled toothbrush will go in cabinets on display in the area. The rest of the material will be reburied on the site of the 2000 excavations.
I think this is a fantastic end to the project. Being able to return an archaeological collection to its original context is something that should happen more often! People are running out of room and time to study collections so why not return them to where they came from? With proper documentation in place, there is no reason why they cannot be re-excavated in the future and studied.
I’m another member of the Tea Tree Gully Gang, and my focus is on Pine Park which is a small spot, right on the border of suburban Adelaide and the Hills, at the top of Main North East Road before it turns into a twisty, hilly road. The park contains a range of interesting features, both natural and built. Pine Park is a bit bigger than the other suburban parks in the area, but nowhere near as big as the Anstey Hill Park across the road from it, and some of its features include a small, local heritage listed pine plantation, a sizeable section of eucalyptus trees, a creek and some old council chambers.
The council chamber building was the first purpose-built chamber in South Australia, and is on the state heritage register. It was built from locally quarried stone, and is still in use by the local CFS.
At the bottom of the park is a lush section of grass which is watered all year round by a spring-fed creek, and this is probably my favourite feature of the park. The springs were an important part of why the township started up in this spot; they were the waterhole at the end of a hard journey either up or down, by horse or bullock train. The road that runs alongside the park is the original road out of Adelaide and up into that section of the Hills. The park is part of the old village of Steventon, the main features of which are still visible today. The area was, and still is, a beautiful spot, and picnics around here were a popular pastime back in the early days of the colony. Whether you are looking for a calm, green breath of fresh air or an opportunity to wander around some of the state’s oldest buildings, it is still a great picnic spot today.
Like everyone else with a directed study this semester, I’ve realised how much there is to do! It’ll be a challenge but worth it in the end!
My project is based around the Fern Avenue collection that is sitting up in the Arch Lab – all 13 boxes of it! The Fern Avenue Community Gardens Archaeology Project was a small-scale community archaeology project coordinated by Jody Steele and Tim Owen (former Flinders Arch students) and the Unley Museum. The site was a demolished historical jam factory on Fern Avenue, Fullarton, and was discovered during a pre-disturbance survey and artefact collection. This resulted in an abundance of material from a total of ten trenches across the site.
Working in conjunction with the Unley Museum the aim of my project is to sort through the material from the excavations (which includes a lot of rusty bits and pieces, ceramic, glass and a few other bits and bobs) and assess their state of preservation and significance. At the end of the project the Unley Museum will choose a number of artefacts to be repatriated for their permanent collection and I will have to provide a recommendation for the long-term storage/preservation of the remainder of the material.
It will be a long project but I am looking forward to working with the Unley Museum and it will be good practice for my thesis next year!