Tag Archives: Historical Archaeology

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/

 

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.

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.

The Life of the Lady Alice Mine

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(Building remains)

Here we are once again. I’d like to invite you back to read about my second semester Directed Study on the Lady Alice Mine (continued).

This semester I will be looking more closely at the domestic side of the Lady Alice. It is clearly evident when you visit the site that there are many buildings that were once used for the mine, but where did people live whilst they were working on the mine? We know that the mine’s operations were on and off from 1871 to 1931 when it eventually closed.

On the 21 of July my Industry Partner, Dr Cameron Hartnell and I went out to the Lady Alice Mine so that he could show me the domestic side of the mine. As we made our way to the site, we stumbled upon a possible tent site with an animal pen.

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(Photo of site 1A, looking North)

It is hard to see from this photo, but in front of the bent tree is a shallow trench. This could have been one side of a fence. On the other side of the tree is a slight ridge where a temporary tent or hut would have stood. At the bottom of this site is a mine shaft. We were unable to predict how large the shaft was, as at the time it was filled with water.

To the left of the photo below was another site where we found remnants of a hut. This could have been a temporary sleeping site for a miner. The site is connected to the first site by a clear path. Image

There are buildings that still stand in the vicinity of the mine and we know the uses of these buildings. We know that there was a school, a captain’s house and a local pub. In newspaper articles, we know that James Goddard lived in the area until his death. By doing this study, we hope to get an insight into how and where people lived in association with the Lady Alice Mine, so stay tuned for more insights into the unravelling of the domestic life of the Lady Alice Mine.

Frozen Charlotte listen to your mother!

These dolls are almost a symbol of archaeology—life and moments frozen in time and discovered under the ground.

Frozen Charlotte dolls, such as the one in the Oatlands gaol collection, were made of glazed porcelain and were also known as bathing dolls or penny dolls. Frozen Charlottes and Frozen Charlies (Charlotte’s male counterpart) were made from about 1850 until 1914. These dolls had immovable arms with clenched fists, painted hair styles and painted faces. They were usually made to be about 20 inches tall (50 cm), but could be much smaller and were painted in black, white and pink. Older versions of these dolls used a cheaper clay body, their age can be told by the identification of flecks in the porcelain (Darbyshire 1990:40.)

Frozen Charlottes were created as a representation of the poem ‘A Corpse Going to a Ball’ by Seba Smith.  Smith wrote the poem in 1843 after reading an article in the paper describing a young woman who had frozen to death on a sleigh ride on the way to a ball. The poem, which is also a song, warns young women to listen to their parents, not to concern themselves with fashion and to look after their health (Lord 1966:4.)

This Frozen Charlotte below was found under the floor boards in the Gaoler’s Bedroom of the Oatlands Gaol. Her hair style suggests that she was made in about 1890. Given this age range, this Frozen Charlotte may have belonged to the families of the superintendents who lived in the Gaol from 1878.

Frozen Charlotte found at Oatlands Gaol

Frozen Charlotte found at Oatlands Gaol

A Frozen Charlotte was also found at the new Adelaide Hospital site by Dr Keryn Walshe in March 2012. The doll on the right below is the doll that was found at the new Adelaide Hospital site and the doll on the left is an example of a Frozen Charlotte from a private collection. The doll found at the new Adelaide Hospital site is shorter than the one found at Oatlands.

Frozen Charlotte found at the new Adelaide Hospital site (image from Adelaidenow.com.au)

Frozen Charlotte found at the new Adelaide Hospital site (image from Adelaidenow.com.au)

Metal you a story

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As a part of my directed study, for the past few weeks I have been visiting the museum storage down at Hindmarsh. There, I have been looking at individual pieces of metal that have been collected from the site of the Lady Alice Mine by Keryn Walshe and a few helpers.  The site was sectioned into 4 areas labeled A, B, C and D. From each of these sections they collected large amounts of ceramic, glass and metal.

It was decided that if we wanted to make a connection with the mining side of the Lady Alice Mine then we had to look at the metal more closely and determine which pieces are linked to people’s home life and more importantly which pieces are linked to the mine.

 Over the last few weeks I have looked at each section carefully and have tried to determine what these pieces of metal I had at my disposal were. Where there are easily identifiable pieces, there are always mind-boggling pieces right beside them.  Below is one certain piece that has stopped me, Cameron Hartnell and John Hodges in our tracks. It is a large piece of intertwined metal that looks like a modern day bed spring. 

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There are a few pieces of wired metal that have been wound together to increase strength and stability.  As I am not very familiar with metal and/or mining tools I am unsure whether this is some sort of industrial artefact. I guess that means a lot more research. 

There is a significant amount of  metal artefacts that I  have been able to connect back to the mining industry. With more research into the site and  a close look at each distinctive artefact I hope to make a few more connections to the lives of those who once worked and lived at the Lady Alice Mine. 

It’s an ace!

As part of my Directed Study in archaeology I have been researching information about the toys that were found under the floor boards in the Oatlands Gaol, Tasmania.

So far I have had little success in gaining information about the toys, but this week I have had some success. In my collection I have an ace of spades printed by the United States Playing Card Co. It is a Bicycle playing card, number 808. The ace of spades depicts the statue of freedom, which in 1865 was placed on top of the Capitol Building in Washington DC.

The 808 series of playing cards was printed in three colours—red, green and blue—and was introduced in 1885. The ace of spades in my collection is a racer number 1 series, which was introduced in 1895 and ran until 1906.

As mentioned in my earlier post, I am trying to match the date of the toys to families who lived in the  Gaolers’ Residence. From 1895 to 1906 there were six families living in the gaol, and the date range of the card spans the majority of this occupation. Three of the families had children, however playing cards were used more by adults than by children.

I have contacted the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and am hoping that they will be able to provide me with more information about the other toys in my collection. ImageImage