Tag Archives: Master Class

Futtocks, gunwales, catheads – OH MY!

It’s Friday and you know what that means – Master Classes! Today we ran a master class called “Ships as material culture.” This MC examined the “ship” as an artefact. From the wood it was constructed with to all of the fittings like winches, capstans, anchors and cannons, we explored their use, materials and positions on ships. A few fun exercises got the hearts racing. The first was to label the basic ship timbers in a frame-first constructed vessel. The second exercise was a bit more challenging and had a bountiful book prize. Participants were split into teams and given a ship model to label. Approximately fifty ship parts were on the list to be labelled with little stickers. Our winners were Lynda Bignell, Roger Halliday, Phyllis Coxhill and Maddy McCallister. Congratulations!

I think everyone walked away with a finer appreciation of ship construction. When you next see Lynda, Roger, Phyllis and Maddy ask them what a “cathead” is and I’m sure the will enlighten you.


Phyllis and Maddy hard at work labeling

Cultural Heritage and the Law masterclass – 27th August 2010

This master class was conducted by Andrew Collett. Andrew is a highly respected Adelaide lawyer with extensive experience in the areas of Aboriginal heritage, native title, administrative, personal injuries and industrial law. In his early career he worked as a solicitor and barrister for the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement and was retained as junior counsel to act for all Aboriginal interests before the Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia. He was subsequently retained as counsel by the traditional owners of the Maralinga Lands.

Andrew has also been retained as counsel for Aboriginal people and organisations in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Hindmarsh Island Bridge Royal Commission, Children in State Care Inquiry, various native title claims (including in the Federal Court proceedings for the De Rose Hill Native Title Claim) and in the first South Australian “stolen children” action. In 2007 Andrew was also the Assistant Commissioner in the Children on APY Lands Inquiry. During his career Andrew has held a number of significant roles including: Chairperson of the South Australian campaign against racial exploitation and as a member of the Law Society of South Australia’s human rights and Aboriginal issues committees.

In this master class Andrew shared his expertise and teaching students about:

How to locate heritage and related legislation;
How to read and understand various pieces of heritage legislation from around the country and how they differ;
How to understand how other legislation interacts with heritage legislation (e.g., environmental and native title legislation);
Various case studies that demonstrate the importance of working within relevant heritage legislation; and
How heritage professionals may interact with the courts in their careers and issues relating to expert witness issues.

Andrew Collett (fifth from right) with staff and students at the master class

Innovative teaching in Island Archaeology Master Class

Duncan Wright presented a Master Class on island archaeology in Australia and the Pacific on Friday 28th August. Students had to create an island society as the class progressed, using playdough, and this was the result!

In the picture, from left to right, are Karen Alexander, Megan Berry, Amirul Affifudin, Matthew Harder and Karolyn Gauvin.

Ground Penetrating Radar

The Flinders University Archaeology Department ran a masterclass a little while back on Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) presented by Prof. Larry Conyers. I signed up for this course because I like the idea of being able to see below the earth’s surface without having to dig, that as archaeologists we are getting to the point of being able to examine some aspects of a site without destroying it in the process.

So when we are looking at GPR data, what are we actually looking at?
* the path of an electromagnetic wave as it passes through the earth.
* reflections: the waves are transmitted, hit something, partially bounce back and are collected by the receiver.
* porosity and permeability of the earth – water can both help and hinder the transmission of the waves. In some cases, water is trapped underground by substances such as wood so they show up better. In other cases, water might flow between cobblestones or pavers to create very differentiated results, or alternatively it does not flow under asphalt, so the stratigraphy below is both slower to change and more intact.
* dislocations in stratigraphy – bones might not show up, but perhaps the edges of the grave will.
* history of the environment, for example old river channels that became lakes, or old ocean floors, old field furrows. The history of the environment is important information to archaeologists; environment in many ways dictates activity.

The first day was all theory – an introduction to different aspects of the science, maths and software involved. On the second day we headed up into the hills to an old graveyard to survey. A couple of the participants brought their own GPRs with them and we spent a large part of the cold, rainy day collecting data on top of a windswept hill, dodging the odd patch of hail.

The third day (sunny of course) was back in the lab looking at what we had collected, trying out different angles and piecing things together. It was a great intro to a very complex survey method. I’m interested to see more applications.