Tag Archives: Directed Study

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Moreton Bay Magnetometer Survey – Making it Work

By Paddy Waterson

It’s always exciting, and a bit nerve racking, when you get a new piece of ‘kit’.  Will it be easy to put together? Will it work as well as you hoped?  Will it enable you to achieve the results you have promised?  You have probably seen the same piece of equipment at work and know the basics, but the onus is on you now and there are always tricks to be learnt.

In 2013, the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection invested in a new Geometrics G882 Marine Magnetometer to assist with the Queensland Historic Shipwreck Survey (QHSS). The QHSS is a five year initiative to update official records on the state’s estimated 1400 historic shipwrecks. The size of the state, and the number of historic shipwrecks, means that the fieldwork component of the survey is aimed at locating, identifying and documenting wrecks in key strategic areas, such as Moreton Bay. The initial phases of fieldwork in the QHSS used an existing side scan sonar system and had been quite successful in locating a number of wrecks. However, it soon became apparent that we need something more. The dynamic nature of the Queensland coast made locating many timber wrecks problematic, largely because they are constructed from materials that are extremely vulnerable to deterioration in the marine environment and so tend to have a lower physical profile. This is compounded by Queensland’s offshore environment that is a mixture of dense corals, thick muds and highly mobile sand, all of which can significantly inhibit the effectiveness of visual and side scan sonar searches for low profile historic shipwrecks. A business case for a magnetometer was subsequently developed and the G882 was purchased using funds from the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Program—now I just have to make it work!

A project was developed to configure and test the magnetometer in local conditions to ensure we achieved the best potential outcomes when it was deployed across the state. This project has two phases:

  1. The initial testing of the magnetometer on five known shipwrecks to determine its operational limits and develop a signature profile guide for different wreck types.
  2. Conducting preliminary research into two previously un-located wrecks in the Moreton Bay Region.

The initial testing phase will use five known wrecks within the greater Moreton region. These wrecks were chosen for their comparative signature profile testing, as they are a good representative sample of the different wreck types commonly encountered along the Queensland coast. The test wrecks range in type from a small wooden schooner and a large iron hulled barque, through to steel hulled trawler. By comparing the different magnetic signatures of the wrecks, and their relative detection ranges, we will be able to refine future survey methods and better interpret results when searching for previously un-located historic shipwrecks.

Table 1. Details of the five wrecks used to test the magnetometer, build a signature profile and refine search methods.  These wrecks were chosen due to their variation in size, physical profile and construction materials.

Table 1. Details of the five wrecks used to test the magnetometer, build a signature profile and refine search methods. These wrecks were chosen due to their variation in size, physical profile and construction materials.

The initial configuration and preliminary tests were conducted in November 2013. The hardware configuration for the magnetometer was relatively simple, as it came correctly calibrated for the region. Some minor assembly was required, but this was quickly achieved with the support of staff from Marine Sciences and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

The Geometrics G882 Marine Magnetometer

The Geometrics G882 Marine Magnetometer

The magnetometer being deployed from the Queensland Marine Parks vessel Caretta.  Assisting are Ranger Rohan Couch (left) and Technical Officer James Fels (right).

The magnetometer being deployed from the Queensland Marine Parks vessel Caretta.  Assisting are Ranger Rohan Couch (left) and Technical Officer James Fels (right).

The initial software configuration proved more challenging, as the magnetometer software was configured to integrate the GPS data via a ‘pin-port’ rather than the more common USB connection—this was resolved through the acquisition of an additional ‘pin-port’ aerial output cable.  The use of a specialised laptop that could cope with the movement of the vessel was also essential—many laptops simply lock up the hard drive when vibration is detected.

The laptop, data junction box and GPS configured and ready for deployment.

The laptop, data junction box and GPS configured and ready for deployment.

With the initial set-up and preliminary systems testing complete the surveys of the known wrecks could commence—and a new range of challenges could begin. More on that in my next blog.

What do a brewery, two ships and king have in common?

By Tom Georgonicas

I thought I would follow up on my previous blog with a look at other archaeological digs, both nationally and internationally that have taken place in car parks.

Back in 2011, an excavation was carried out on a car park in Hindley Street, Adelaide. The car park was to make way for a new learning centre for the University of South Australia, but before the building began, Austral Archaeology carried out an archaeological assessment of the car park. Excavations were carried out late that year and the results were amazing. Structural remains of a home built in 1838, the Temperance Hotel and a corner of the original West End Brewery were found. A short summary of what was found can be found on the Uni SA website or by clicking here.

Also in 2011t excavations were carried out in a car park in Bunbury, Western Australia. The excavation team, led by members of the Department of Maritime Archaeology from the Western Australian Museum, found three sites relating to shipwrecks. These shipwrecks were the whaling vessels the Samuel Wright and the North America. If you are interested in learning more on these excavations, follow this link provided by the Western Australian Museum. At the end of the page there is a download link of the full report of the site by Ross Anderson and Madeline McAllister.

Last, but not least, in Britain, the remains of King Richard III, the last King of England of the Plantagenet line were discovered underneath a car park  in Leicester, along with the remains of a Grey Friars church.

It caused a worldwide media sensation when the remains were exhumed in August 2012. It was noted at the time of the exhumation that the skeleton showed traces of scoliosis of the spine, an object embedded in the spine and severe injuries to the skull. The use of historic maps was also important to the project. The arrangement and location of the friary buildings were not known. By using a map from the mid 18th century, the team was able to locate the buildings and what areas of the friary had not been built upon over the years. (Buckley et al. 2013)

We all know he was really killed by this guy.

I don’t expect to find kings or ships buried under car parks in Adelaide, but I wrote this to show the archaeological potential that car parks can hold. Progress wise, I am getting there. I am entering the writing phase at the moment, gathering the data and photos etc. Hopefully on my next blog post I can give a sample of my results.
Tom Georgonicas

References

Buckley. R.,M. Morris, J.Appleby and T.King 2013 ‘The king in the car park’: New light on the death and burial of Richard III in the Grey Friars church, Leicester, in 1485. Antiquity 87: 519-538.

Getting to Know Your Resources

Kahlia Pearce, Grad Dip in Archaeology and CHM

As part of my Directed Study project on the historical archaeology of Calperum station, I thought it would be a great idea to drive up to Renmark one day and look at the local history books in their library, as they didn’t have a catalogue online. The road trip  was long and tiring, but we were lucky it did not rain during the trip.

Renmark_Paringa_Public_Library_2

Renmark Public Library

At the Renmark public library I searched through their local history cabinet. There were a few books in the library that I could not find at the State Library regarding the history of Calperum Station. I am not focusing on Calperum Station, but the other potential historical archaeological sites that may be present in the area, thus it is still useful to read the information as it gives a back story and clues on what I could research.

I mentioned to the librarian that I was doing a research project on the Calperum and Taylorville area. She gave me some contact details for the local historian in Renmark who could help me with my research.

I was very lucky when I contacted the historian, as she has an interest in pastoral history. I have received a lot of advice from her on where to look and what to search for. I recently took a master class on specialist library skills (which I highly recommend for everyone to attend, as it was very helpful), as I had no idea how complicated it can be when trying to research specific areas and all the different keywords that may seem irrelevant but that can turn out to be useful when searching for relevant information.

Getting into contact with other researchers is very useful in the archaeological world, as it is a way of gaining knowledge from other people and finding new things you can research. When I was an undergraduate I had no idea how difficult it actually was when doing a research project that no one had attempted before. I would not trade this experience and it has taught me some very useful tips: particularly that people who are interested in, or specialise in, these areas are the best source of guidance.

Unlawful Marriages and Illegitimate Children

By Amy Batchelor

Are you the product of an illegitimate marriage? You could be, especially if your ancestors were married in Adelaide in the month of May, 1842. In her book, Family Life in South Australia Fifty-Three Years Ago, Jane Isabella Watts (1890:139) writes “the glorious uncertainty of the law and the careless, slipshod way in which Acts of Parliament are constructed were seldom, perhaps, more strikingly displayed than in the drawing up of the new Marriage Act.”

The new Marriage Act passed in council on 22nd March 1842. It called for due notice of marriages, the issuing of licenses and certificates, and the registration of all marriages. Ministers of religion now had to be registered and any marriages performed by unregistered Ministers were deemed invalid.

Ministers notice

Ceremonies could be conducted according to the particular religion, however each party now by law had to say to each other: “I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, (name), do take thee, (name), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband).”

For a “brief outline of some of the Act’s leading and most important provisions” see this article from the Southern Australian, 29 March 1842. While the new Act legalised all marriages in the colony prior to the 30th April, it didn’t come into force until 1st June 1842. Unfortunately, no provisions were made for marriages in the month of May.

At the time of their marriage, Jane’s husband Alfred questioned the legality of the new Marriage Act “but his objections were overruled” and their ceremony went ahead on Wednesday 18th May, 1842.

Marriage notice

Several years later a well-known doctor, who had “also entered the matrimonial state” in May 1842, “discovered the mistake that had been made… and that in consequence thereof, his marriage… was void and his children illegitimate.” While the doctor was understandably “excessively concerned”, Watts didn’t seem upset at all: “in reality the blunder gave (us) no concern… and may probably have formed the ground work of a sly jest between (us) now and then, but that was all” (Watts 1890:140).

By using a variety of online databases I was able to identify twelve marriages that took place in Adelaide during May 1842 (table 1).

table 1

Do you recognise any ancestors on this list? Well, fear not. The Marriages Amendment Act of 1852 placed all weddings under Government supervision and contained a clause “which effectually and forever set at rest all doubts as to (the) legality” (Watts 1890:140) of any marriages performed in May 1842.

Not that any of this mattered of course, because, as Watts (1890:140) says, “no legal flaws had power to disturb their peace of mind, for ‘those whom God has joined together, no man can put asunder.’ A union that is based on mutual love and esteem… can never be snapped in twain.”

(For the latest statistics on divorces in Australia visit the Australian Bureau of Statistics here).

What is beneath Adelaide’s car parks?

My name is Tom Georgonicas; I am currently undertaking a graduate diploma in archaeology and heritage management. As part of my degree I am working on a directed study that aims to investigate the archaeological potential (if any) that could be found under the ground level car parks of the city of Adelaide. For the purpose of this study, the study area is bound between North Terrace, South Terrace, East Terrace and West Terrace. The study is only focussing on ground level open car parks, not multi–storey car parks.

My aims for the directed study are to:

  • Map a current map of ground level car parks in the city of Adelaide on to the 1842 Kingston map and the 1880 Smith survey of Adelaide.
  • Identify the most likely sites with surviving archaeological potential on both maps and see if they overlap.
  • Research what kind of development took place on these sites. Have they interfered with any potential archaeological deposits?
  • Create a scale of archaeological potential for the sites based on my research.

Needless to say, the research is quiet immense and has required hours upon hours of research. To make things simpler I have decided to use Google Earth’s image overlay function, which has allowed me to overlay both the Kingston map and the Smith survey over a satellite image of Adelaide. Results so far have been surprising and promising, with the historical maps revealing structures that no longer remain.

Here is an example of how I am approaching the study.

Below is a satellite image of the south-west corner of Adelaide (corner of West Tce and South Tce)

SW corner of Adelaide

SW corner of Adelaide

Now after adding the Kingston map via image overlay.

SW corner of Adelaide, with Kingston Map.

SW corner of Adelaide, with Kingston Map.

Here are the results after the image overlay function. Lots 626 and 696 reveal that one point, there were structures.

SW corner of Adelaide with the Smith survey over lay.

SW corner of Adelaide with the Smith survey over lay.

The Smith survey is more detailed, going as far as naming some businesses, churches and buildings. I should also note that the image overlay function is only being used as a guide. The real results will be obtained by historical research.

You can access these maps by the State Library of South Australia by clicking the following links online.

1842 Kingston Map

http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=61&c=1402

1880 Smith survey

http://www.catalog.slsa.sa.gov.au/record=b1378035

Keep Digging

My name is Kahlia Pearce; I am doing a Graduate Diploma in Archaeology and  Heritage Management at Flinders University. I am undertaking the Directed Studies topic to give me an insight into what it would be like to do a Master’s thesis.  My Directed Studies topic is on the historical archaeology of Calperum and Taylorville Stations, located just outside of Renmark. I will mainly be focusing on looking at other potential historical sites that could be found within the area.

Research has been tricky, as there have been name changes in many parts of the study area. Chowilla was used as the name for a pastoral property in 1846 (National Parks and Wildlife Service 1995:8). This property was then split into two properties known as Chowilla and Bookmark by Richard Holland (National Parks and Wildlife Service 1995). Holland used the Bookmark property for sheep and Chowilla was used as a cattle station (National Parks and Wildlife Service 1995:8).

The area known as Bookmark was then renamed Calperum (Australian Landscape Trust 2012). This area was subsequently renamed Calperum and Taylorville, as can be seen in the picture below.

Calperum and Taylorville area

I have found in my research a mention of stone homesteads erected at Bookmark and Chowilla in 1876-1877, and woolsheds and shearers’ quarters built on Chowilla (National Parks and Wildlife Service 1995:8).

Further research needs to be undertaken on these aspects, and I am planning a trip up to the local library at Renmark. Hopefully the library and talking to the people in the community can shed some light on the history of the area known now as Calperum and Taylorville.

References

Australian Government n.d. Calperum and Taylorville Stations. Retrieved 28 February 2014 from <http://www.environment.gov.au/node/20941&gt;.

Australian Landscape Trust 2012 History: Calperum Station 1838-2010. Retrieved 1 March 2014 from <http://www.austlandscapetrust.org.au/projects/riverland/calperum-taylorville/calperum-taylorville-history.aspx>.

National Parks and Wildlife Service 1995 Chowilla Regional Reserve and Chowilla Game Reserve Management Plan. Management plan prepared for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Australia.

A Timely Discovery

By Tegan Burton, Grad Dip in Archaeology

The semester has well and truly begun and research is underway. My topic is clear (Connecting Indigenous youth to culture through rock art recording and conservation) and my industry partner is on board (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service Aboriginal Co-Management Unit).

Work commenced by identifying underlying elements and questions (e.g. Indigenous perceptions of archaeology, and archaeologists. Where are the Indigenous archaeologists? Is this ‘community archaeology’? Is it true that art in particular is more applicable than other aspects of archaeology? What’s so important about connecting with culture?) and hunting around the literature for relevant references.

Then, while searching the office for an old report, a timely discovery was made, a small book called Revival, Renewal & and Return: Ray Kelly and the NSW Sites of Significance Survey (Kijas 2005).

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Ray ‘Tiger’ Kelly was the first Aboriginal employee in the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), engaged as a Research Officer in 1973. With Harry Creamer, and under the supervision of archaeologist Sharon Sullivan, Kelly commenced what was to become the decade long NSW Sites of Significance Survey.

The Survey commenced at a time when Australia was shifting from the eras of protection and assimilation to self-determination and reconciliation (Kijas 2005; Smith 2004). The process and results of running the Survey radically changed thinking in NSW, demonstrating that NSW Aboriginal people had not lost contact with sites nor culture, as had been the general belief.

Just two years after commencement, Kelly submitted a report titled ‘A revival of the Aboriginal culture: We, the Aboriginal people, need this to achieve our identity’. His passion for cultural revival, inspired by the Survey, exuded from every sentence. ‘Now that some of us are aware of what we have lost, there seems to be an urgent need to restore whatever is left of our culture. To do this successfully we must involve many more Aborigines in the recording and protection programme’ (Kelly 1975, in Kijas 2005:14).

Around the same period, Kelly identified some challenges to reviving Aboriginal culture in NSW. One of these was the need ‘to encourage white anthropologists, archaeologists and linguists in their ivory towers to give direct feedback to the people they have obtained their material from’, while another was to overcome ‘the white education system, which has not accepted the need for Aboriginal kids to be educated in their own history’ (Kelly 1975:16).

That was 1975. Where do things stand now, in 2014? How much have things changed, in NSW, bureaucratically, and in reality?

In 2005 Kelly concluded that ‘the future of Aboriginal cultural heritage is bright. However, there is still a long way to go’ and ‘we need Aboriginal land managers, Aboriginal rangers and educators to guide our communities, and play a key role in the cultural understanding of our land’ (Kijas 2005:119).

I’m not Aboriginal, Indigenous, or a First Nations person. But I have had the privilege of working with some incredibly inspirational people who are, and I look forward to expanding that work within the world of archaeology.

References:

Kelly, R. 1975 From the “Keeparra” to the “Cultural Bind”: An analysis of the Aboriginal situation. Australian Archaeology 2:13-17.

Kijas, J. 2005 Revival, Renewal and Return: Ray Kelly and the NSW Sites of Significance Survey. Hurstville: Department of Environment & Conservation (NSW).

Smith, C. 2004 Country, Kin and Culture: Survival of an Australian Aboriginal Community. Kent Town: Wakefield Press.