Tag Archives: Historical Archaeology

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

“Know Your Enemy”

During World War Two, in the Pacific Theatre, the Japanese forces had occupied many of the Pacific Islands. The Japanese fortified these islands in a variety of ways to defend them from the attacking American Forces, one of which was to use and/or construct caves for highly strategic military purposes and as protective shelters for both the Japanese forces, and the civilian population of these islands.

For my directed study, I’ve been tasked with identifying the use of the caves (i.e.fortified positions, machine gun emplacements, storage, etc.) on the island of Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, by collating historical and archival data to extract as many locations for cave sites on the island as possible.

Before researching into Saipan’s caves, I’ve decided to look at “Know Your Enemy!”, a declassified US Military report on the Japanese Military Caves on Peleliu. This report complies the information gained after the extensive study and analysis of the cave system found on Peleliu, Palau.

Know your enemy

Peleliu was the site of Operation Stalemate II, which had occurred after the Americans gained control of Saipan, Guam and Tinian, and before the Volcano and Ryūkyū Islands campaign (Iwo Jima and Okinawa). As such, some of the techniques to defend the island came from what had been learnt when previous islands were taken. This potentially means that how the Japanese used the caves on Peleliu would be similar to, or an improvement on how the caves were used on Saipan.

The following are some extracts from the report that I believe could help me  for the Saipan research:

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Differences between the Army and Navy:

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In relation to I, L, and T shaped caves:

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And, something to chill the spine:

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