Tag Archives: Directed Study

Finishing up my directed study

By April Webb

It’s the end of semester and my directed study is done, hooray! (Not that I mean to imply that it wasn’t fun… of course.) It was a lot of work (50% research, 25% writing, 25% deleting the gibberish that my cats inserted while I wasn’t looking), but now I can say with confidence that I have a basic understanding of Indigenous heritage management in Australia. And now I can do more than nod politely and give a blank stare when people talk about legislation and government bodies that I previously knew nothing about. I’m sure that’s a good thing. In my previous blog posts I discussed the basic advantages of a regional governance system, and talked a little about the Ngarrindjeri and Torres Strait Regional Authorities. Here’s a summary of my final report.

This segment of Horton's map of Aboriginal Australia shows the locations of the four ARA Test Sites.

This segment of Horton’s map of Aboriginal Australia shows the locations of the four ARA Test Sites.

In July 2013 the Department of the Premier and Cabinet of the South Australian Government announced plans for implementing a system of Aboriginal Regional Authorities across the state. These Authorities would be responsible for a range of functions which would differ according to the needs and capabilities of each region, and would base their operations to an extent on the successful example of the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority. Submissions were received from a variety of interested parties, and in December 2013 test sites were chosen. They are:

• Narungga (Yorke Peninsula) – Narungga Aboriginal Corporation Regional Authority;
• Ngarrindjeri (Lower River Murray) – Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority;
• Port Augusta – Port Augusta Aboriginal Community Engagement Group; and
• Kaurna (Adelaide Plains) – Kaurna Nation Cultural Heritage Association.

My Directed Study project involved a study of existing ARAs and similar structures in order to determine how such bodies might function, and what their pros and cons might be.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, regionalism was generally seen as a desirable model for Indigenous governance, as evidenced in the academic literature on the subject and in submissions made to the South Australian Government on the topic by interested parties. A caveat was that regions should be decided by Indigenous people themselves and not be the product of ‘top-down’ approaches, such as that derived through census data. It was also noted that Regional Authorities would most likely need to have statutory authority  or some sort of legislative recognition in order to achieve effective governance, although there are some examples of bodies who are able to govern effectively without this, such as the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority. Funding was another major concern. It is likely that Regional bodies will require more intensive funding from the government in their early stages, and that this will enable them to become more self-sufficient as time goes on. The funding arrangements of existing bodies such as the NRA and Gumala Aboriginal Corporation provided insight into possible schemes for self-funding. Lastly, Aboriginal Regional Authorities might provide clarification in South Australia on whom to approach for heritage matters, and exactly how much authority Indigenous groups have in these instances.

So, I am happy to say that my report is finished and submitted! Now it’s the holidays, time for me to concentrate on other things, like watching TV and continuing with my botched attempts to learn to play the flute (sorry, neighbours). Oh, and continuing to work on this report. My industry partner has mentioned that we might be able to turn the report into a joint publication eventually, which is very exciting. So, still a lot of work to do!

Taylorville: A Place of Mystery

Boggy Flat was established by James White in 1871. James White held approximately 21 pastoral leases, covering an area of 1,386 square miles. In 1908 Frederick George Taylor, a famer, renamed Boggy Flat to Taylorville. Taylor is also known as the father of Taylorville. Taylor and his family’s first home was located under the cliffs at Gillen East; their permanent home was completed in 1911 on the Murray.

James White

James White

At Taylorville there was a river landing for paddle steamers, and the Kookaburra and the Queen were constant visitors.

There was a stage coach that ran between Morgan, Renmark and Wentworth (when required), operated by Moody and Plush. F.G. Taylor opened a post office on April 13, 1915; it closed on July 31, 1967. In 1914 F.G. Taylor created the F.G. Taylor and Sons Mail Lorry.

Mallyons

Mallyons Restaurant

Western’s Flat was part of Taylorville; on the site was a building built in 1841 that was specifically designed as a rest stop for overlanders travelling to Overland Corner. This building is an organic restaurant today known as Mallyons. A hotel was built within the area and the rest stop became a stable for passengers and staff of Cobb and Co. These buildings were also used as a shearing shed in the 1900s during the Second World War and for barn dancing for the adolescents from Morgan and Taylorville.

References

Anon. 1919 The Late Mr F.G. Taylor, The Father of Taylorville. The Murray Pioneer 13 July n.p.

Anon. 2010 Mallyons celebrates a decade of fine food. Riverland Weekly 16 September p.10.

Nunn, J.M. 1994 History of Waikerie: Gateway to the Riverland. Waikerie: Waikerie Historical Society.

Taylor, M. 1995 Taylorville South Australia Towards 2000: “Southward Ho” to Adelaide on The Barque “Himilaya”. Mildura: Victoria.

Using Google Earth in Archaeology

Google Earth and Archaeology.

By Tom Georgonicas

For my 3rd blog post for my directed studies, I thought I would discuss the main program I  decided to use to help complete my report on potential archaeological sites buried under the car parks of Adelaide. I am sure most of you have used Google Earth at some point—either as a way to plot road trips, create maps to a site, make mud maps (I have), or for actual reports and papers. The most widely used version is the free version available online via the Google home page. The better version, dubbed ‘Google Pro’, could set you back around $300.

In relation to my directed study, the use of Google Earth has been an important part of my work. Besides using Google Earth to locate ground level open-air car parks around Adelaide, I have also used Google Earth’s image overlay function to place historic maps of Adelaide over the current satellite image of Adelaide.

Currently I have managed to find 33 car parks around the city of Adelaide that may have potential archaeological value. Google has also added a ‘time scale’ function on Google Earth. It allows the user to review past satellite images of the location they are viewing. In Adelaide, for example, I was able to observe the development in the city from the first satellite image added on Google Earth to the latest image. This function also shows which areas of the city have undergone redevelopment in the past few years.

In 2009, Dr. Adrian Myers, then a grad student from Stanford University used Google Earth for his research on Internment Camps. He quite famously in 2009 used Google Earth, satellite images, aerial photographs and other data on Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to show that the prison had been expanded during the beginning of the War on Terror. It was interesting to see how the Camp had expanded as the war progressed. Myers also states that Google Earth has been used by other researchers to investigate looting of sites over the past few years, as well as locating and recording sites that are in inaccessible or dangerous areas for field work.

In conclusion, Google Earth is a powerful tool that can be utilised in archaeology. Desktop studies, such as my directed study, have been possible because of Google Earth and its functions. But, interestingly enough, Myers also makes the  point that if archaeologists can freely access Google Earth to locate sites, then other people looking for potential sites, such as looters, can also use it.

For those interested in reading up on Google Earth’s use in archaeology and its potential. I would highly recommend these two papers.

‘Field work in the age of digital reproduction’ by Adrian Myers.

http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1019&context=adrianmyers

‘Camp Delta, Google Earth and the Ethics of Remote Sensing in Archaeology’ by Adrian Myers.

 http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=adrianmyers

 and finally a link to Google Earth

http://www.google.com/earth/

 

The Multiple Benefits of a Directed Study in Maritime Archaeology

By: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch

I have now completed my semester long directed study topic at Flinders University, with only the final draft of my field work report for the industry partner involved, Heritage Victoria, remaining. It is the perfect time to reflect upon the semester and the benefits of partaking in a directed study topic. For the purposes of my research it was in maritime archaeology, but I imagine that any directed study would carry the same benefits and this blog could be taken synonymously.

This has been a hard topic. I know that this blog, the last in my required blog posts for this topic, is supposed to be about the benefits of a directed study but I feel that it would be amiss if I didn’t let you, the reader, know that it was a very taxing endeavour. You spend a lot of time thinking about it, working on it, doubting yourself, having the pressure of a professional or industry partner being involved, and the scariest of all, relying on yourself to do what needs to be done. I do not want people to get the wrong idea: it was hard, yes, but in the best possible ways. 

Even now as I write this I am thinking about the quality of my writing and whether or not I will meet the standards required for a professional maritime archaeology field work report. I have read through multiple field reports by various government and commercial maritime archaeology firms and have created what can only be described as a ‘Frankenstein-esque’ version of a report, with the pieces I could use cut and sewn together, because no field report is alike. Sections included in one may not be relevant in another and vice versa. The end product is very specific and a very large report covering every possible aspect that I or others could conceive. This has been a great exercise in understanding what maritime archaeologists actually do as a job. By understanding at least one end product of their work, I can better understand how to conduct myself in the field to make the task of report writing easier.

Another beneficial outcome of this project is acknowledging your personal work ethic and drive. I am not being paid to write this report, on the contrary I am paying a substantial international post-graduate course fee to write it. That being said, I treated it as a job, as if it was my duty to write this report to the highest standard and not let my industry partner or professors down. Pressure to succeed is a good stressor (to a certain degree), and it will be a part of any career you choose so to understand how you handle it in a safe, academic environment is very nice.

For this entire semester, I was the ‘captain’ of my professional report writing ‘voyage’. I ‘steered’ the way the report was going by choosing what to include and how to include it. The best part of being enrolled in a course is that my ‘safety beacon’ if you will (apologies for the nautical puns…occupational hazard) was the very knowledgeable university staff who were there to answer any and all questions and guide me to ‘safe harbour’ when rough water was met (I will stop with the puns now, I promise). This is a luxury that is not afforded in the real world.

I will end my last directed studies blog with the best part of enrolling in this topic: experience. I will, once everything is completed, have a professional report under my belt. I will not be intimidated by report writing once I am in the professional realm. I can show future employers, colleagues and, most importantly, myself that I CAN do this. The only real issue I have about this topic is that I am not able to take part in another one.

Fieldwork: keeping it real

By Tegan Burton, Grad Dip in Archaeology

As the Directed Study assessment due date draws ever nearer I return again and again to numerous journal papers, book chapters and web sites. Such is the nature of a literature review project. But it is fieldwork that truly keeps me alive.

No matter where, no matter when, no matter what the activity, no matter what the weather, fieldwork is always one of my favourite things. But the most inspirational fieldwork of all is Indigenous archaeology or cultural heritage management alongside Indigenous youth.

Since 2010 I’ve been in the fortunate position of coordinating what has evolved in to a ‘Connecting to Culture’ project in northern Sydney, engaging urban Indigenous youth in Aboriginal site recording and management within National Parks. Each year has been a little different, but a persistent gap has been the involvement of women. Well, no longer, with the first tangible steps towards a young Indigenous women’s group now under way!

Our first day out together was spent visiting some Sydney rock art sites with strong connections to women. We began at the sign-posted America Bay Track engraving site where a passionate and ‘say it like it is’ Indigenous mentor introduced the idea of women’s business. We also talked about threats facing the engraving site, and whether there were simple things we could do to reduce those threats.

Image

Young Indigenous women’s mentoring group visiting a Sydney rock engraving site

Our next stop was the Great Mackerel Rockshelter featured in Jo McDonald’s doctoral research, Dreamtime Superhighway (McDonald 2008). McDonald describes both cultural remains in a midden layer and a recent art phase as indicators of the presence of women at this site, perhaps as a semi-permanent living site for a smaller group in the last 500 years (McDonald 1992).

One the one hand I imagined looking at the art on the wall of the shelter through the eyes of an Anglo woman archaeologist. In doing so I was guided by what I could recall of Jo McDonald’s writing.

On the other hand I imagined looking at the art through the eyes of a young Indigenous woman, raised in the heart of the city and reconnecting with different elements of culture. For this perspective I was guided by the conversation of those around me.

Bringing these two perspectives together, archaeologist and Indigenous person, made real the question of Indigenous community perceptions of archaeologists, and of the discipline of archaeology overall.

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Young Indigenous women’s mentoring group visiting a Sydney rock art shelter site

Our second day together came a few weeks later, returning to the America Bay Track rock engraving site. Two main threats to the site were identified during our previous visit.

1) Burnt vegetation from a wildfire a few years earlier had fallen on the rock surface, providing fuel which could damage the rock in future wildfires, and promoting the accumulation of organic material across the rock surface.

2) Poor drainage along the walking track resulting in water flows and sediment deposition on the rock surface.

A small crew with simple hand tools over a couple of hours was able to make great head way in the amelioration of both of these threats.

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Clearing burnt and fallen vegetation from around a rock engraving site

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The Connecting to Culture women’s mentoring group

Coming from a conservation land management background I find it hard to know where to draw the line between archaeology and cultural heritage management. Advice has been not to get too concerned, the line is often blurry.

References:

McDonald, J. 1992 The Great Mackerel Rock Shelter excavation: Women in the archaeological record? Australian Archaeology 35:32-50

McDonald, J. 2008 Dreamtime Superhighway: Sydney Basin Rock Art and Prehistoric Information Exchange. Canberra: ANU E Press – Terra Australis 27.