Inside This Issue
A message from the President
News from the State Chapters
Archaeological News from around the World
AACAI Student Fund Recipients for 2016
Where are you and what are you up to?
A message from the President
Welcome to our second E-News of 2016. The last six months have flown by, while the NEC has been working a number of things we are yet to finalise them.
The NEC has been working on collating research topics of relevance to consulting archaeology and topics of interest in various states to help guide students, and ensure our Student Fund contributions continue to be put into to research relevant to our association. We have also been looking at redrafting guidance on the use of Volunteers, and I have to give a big thanks to the Victorian Chapter who has really stepped up and put time and effort into this one. We hope to have a draft of new Volunteer Guidance out with our AGM paperwork in November.
Also upcoming on the agenda is the AACAI session, the Meet the Graduates Event and our National Annual General Meeting at the Australian Archaeological Association (AAA) Conference 6- 8 December in Terrigal, NSW. State Chapters are currently organising their AGM’s, so contact your state chairperson to find out more. For the date and time of the National AGM, check out the finalised conference program when it becomes available on the AAA website. Members will receive the AGM paperwork 2 weeks prior to the conference via email.
In other news Matthew Schlitz our treasurer, who has done a fantastic job for the last three years, is looking to step down from the role. Any member interested in taking up the mantle of Treasure for the National Executive Committee should contact me or the Secretary Steve Muller (email@example.com).
I hope everyone has a great windup of the year, and we will be back in 2017 with more news.
President, Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc.
News from the State Chapters
NSW State Chapter – provided by Andrew Costello
On Friday 7 October NSW ACCAI held a workshop on the Identification of Human Skeletal Remains in an Australian Archaeology Context at the Shellshear Museum and Forensic Osteology Lab, University of Sydney. The workshop was run by Denise Donlon and some of her PhD students and focused on identifying human skeletal remains and the identification of non-human bones. It was both practical and theoretical and was very well attended, with a long waiting list for people who missed out. Several AACAI members as well as non-members and students attended the successful event.
Lyndon Patterson is to be commended for organising the event and running the payment system on behalf of AACAI. The workshop, notes and theory were impeccably presented by Denise and her team, with attendees requesting an advanced course to determine gender, race and age at a later date – stay tuned!
We are now looking forward to our AGM and meeting later this month at the Commons Local in Darlinghurst– thanks Diana Cowie for organising a great venue.
Also of interest to ACCAI members, the Environmental Defenders office published an article calling for improvements to Aboriginal heritage protection in NSW:
WA State Chapter – provided by Phil Czerwinski
Recently members of AACAI WA met with the DAA Chief Heritage Officer / Site Registrar, and others, to discuss ways in which we could support DAA in matters dealing with archaeology and heritage management. Discussions focused around what site recording detail is required for sites to be assessed under s5 of the AHA 1972, the current procedural fairness process DAA are undertaking, and site significance. It became apparent that DAA want Aboriginal voices to be paramount in all forms of site assessments; which means that it may be challenging to register places based solely of archaeological significance.
Also, through a combination of sustained campaigns by heritage professionals, Aboriginal organisations, rep bodies, and the public, and coincidental timing, the amendments to the AHA 1972 proposed by the Liberal government will not proceed before the next (March 2017) election. If the Labor Party win all bets are off for the amended Act, and only time would tell what Labor will put on the table.
VIC State Chapter - provided by Martin Lawler
August saw the introduction of the amended Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and amended Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2007, which have brought in a raft of new measures. These include, inter alia, the introduction of Preliminary Aboriginal Heritage Tests (PAHTs), greater authority and funding for RAPs, additional charges including fees for access to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register and fees for evaluation of CHMPs by the Secretary, DPC, and the option to amend approved CHMPs. Harry Webber, Acting Director of Heritage Services at Heritage Victoria, gave a presentation on the amended Regulations to Chapter members on 31st May 2016.
In response to a request from the NEC, the Victorian Chapter discussed the existing AACAI policy on volunteers in July. A draft revision of the policy has been prepared by Gary Vines, Oona Nicolson and Andrea Murphy and circulated among Chapter members, detailing the legal responsibilities for consultants under the Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009. The draft revision has been submitted to the NEC for consideration.
The Victorian Chapter’s Historical Materials Workshop will be held on 27th and 28th October at the Heritage Victoria Conservation Laboratories in Abbotsford. This is a two day workshop covering a range of historical archaeological materials, presented by Dr Jillian Garvey, Dr Iain Stuart, Dr Sarah Hayes and Bronwyn Woff. There may be still places available – online bookings can be made on www.trybooking.com/233204.
The state Chapter AGM will be held on 18th October 2016 at Bells Hotel, 157 Moray Street, South Melbourne.
Archaeological News from around the World
For Halloween we are off to Ireland
Halloween is coming up and on the night of October 31, hundreds of people gather at the Hill of Ward, once known as Tlachtga, in County Meath, Ireland. It is a contemporary celebration repeated annually, one of many seasonal celebrations across the world that have roots both modern and ancient. New archaeological work is looking closely at the history of the Hill of Ward and researchers are hoping to discover how its use and value evolved over the centuries—along with the traditional rites and celebrations that eventually led to the modern festival of Halloween.
The Boyne Valley includes the well-known “passage tombs” of Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth, which at around 5,500 years old predate even the pyramids of Egypt.
A team led by Stephen Davis of University College Dublin has begun excavations, using lidar and geophysical tools, have determined that the Hill of Ward was built in three distinct phases over many centuries. Happy Halloween all. Read more here.
Full text available at:
Archaeology goes stealth
Welcome to the world of un-manned archaeology. CAVE2 technology, based at Monash University, has been used to map three excavation sites on the Plain of Jars, Laos. Drones are being used to collect the footage for the project and a team will then create a 3-D replica of the excavations and the entire Plain of Jars landscape. Dougald O’Reilly of Australian National University and his team are collecting information with ground-penetrating radar which is fed into the CAVE2 system to create the underground view of the excavation area. O’Reilly also plans to evaluate the site with lidar technology.
Full article can be found at:
Genomic Insights into the peopling of the Southwest Pacific
More than 3,000 years ago, a group of people set out from the Solomon Island chain to cross more than 350 kilometer stretches of open ocean into a region known as Remote Oceania. New DNA sequences are proving insight into the ancestral origins of these people, and their genetic results have overturned the leading genetic model.
A scientific team led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, University College Dublin, and the Max Planck institute for the Science of Human History, and including Binghamton University Associate Professor of Anthropology Andrew D. Merriwether, analyzed DNA from people who lived in Tonga and Vanuatu between 2,500 and 3,100 years ago, and were among the first people to live in these islands.
Researchers found — to their great surprise — that the ancient individuals carried no trace of ancestry from people who settled Papua New Guinea more than 40,000 years ago, in contrast to all present-day Pacific islanders who derive at least one-quarter of their ancestry from Papuans.
The researchers also documented how mixture between Papuans and the first pioneers of Remote Oceanian has shaped the genomes of present-day Pacific populations, from genetic diversity to ancestry proportions from archaic Denisovans.
The paper, “Genomic Insights into the peopling of the Southwest Pacific,” was published Oct. 3 in Nature.
Full article can be found at:
12 Years of research goes live from former AACAI President - Dr Lynley Wallis
Described as a para-military group and often demonized for its brutality, the Native Mounted Police in Queensland patrolled vast areas of the outback from 1848 to 1904. But much of its actual history, how they lived and the lives of the families who traveled with the troopers is unknown. Now a big research project is underway to find 100 camp sites, conduct archaeological digs, and record stories with descendants of both the troopers and their victims. Dr Lynley Wallis is a senior researcher at Nulungu Research Institute in Broome and part of a multi-university team working on the four year project. Dr Wallis spoke to Vanessa Mills at ABC Kimberley.
Listen to the interview here:
AACAI Student Fund recipients for 2016
AACAI is pleased to announce the four recipients of the 2016 AACAI Student Support Fund (in no particular order):
Lorna Cooper (University of Western Australia) An archaeology of the dynamic physical and social landscape of Gallop House, WA: Using geospatial and geophysical techniques to interrogate archival resources within a historical archaeological and heritage management context
This project is an applied archaeological exercise in combination with multiple partners (National Trust, City of Nedlands and South West Aboriginal Land Council) that will apply geospatial ground-truthing to a recently-discovered Asian market garden in 19th and early 20th century Perth. The Swan River settlement (1829-1905 CE) is hypothesized to have been more multi-cultural than historic and archival sources have tended to portray. The Gallop House market gardens were both a notable feature of this time, but their Asian and Aboriginal elements have been under-emphasized. I propose to create a geospatial framework in which to situate this recent discovery and attendant archaeological and archival (texts, photographs, maps, drawings, oral histories) data. This approach will both help better understand a neglected history and be of use as a model to apply to other market gardens in Western Australia, which contributed more to the economic and social character of the Swan River settlement than hitherto acknowledged. On a practical level, this spatial modelling will provide partner the National Trust and City of Nedlands – on whose lands the study site is located, with both the location of the market garden, which can then be used in the planned re-interpretation of the Gallop House site and with a model and mechanism by which all relevant information is geospatially referenced; enabling future research and heritage management.
Karen Horn (University of Western Australia) Paint recipes: Can near infra-red analysis detect anthropogenic organic materials added to ochre to make paint?
I am studying whether organic substances, such as emu oil, blood, urine, fat, plant sap etc. that might have been added to ochre to make paints, are detectable with NIR analysis, and whether they are still detectable after a period of weathering. If the results are positive, it may be possible to analyse old Aboriginal paintings at the Weld Range with NIR, in order to understand what paint mixes were used in making local rock art and so find out what resources in the environment were used and how. This non-destructive technique may have implications for the analysis of rock art in the field by consultants, to find out more about other painted rock art sites and for conservation and management. I intend to use a chaine operatoire approach. This has previously been used successfully in understanding lithic production. Applying it to rock art is both new and exciting. Weld Range ochre has been finger printed (Scadding et al. 2014) and this project extends the understanding of how the people of the Weld Range used the ochre.
For this project, I intend to:
- research what substances might have been used to make paint including consultation with the Wajarri,
- test the ochre mineral content, and make up some paints using different mixtures of pigment and organic substances and paint these onto plain rock/ ceramic surfaces,
- test the dried paint mixes to get their near infrared spectra,
- assuming differences are detected in part 3, place a set of the paintings in the back of a painted rockshelter at Weld Range for a period of 6 months and subject another set to controlled, accelerated weathering in Perth,
- re-test the painted surfaces to see if the organic components are still detectable on all the weathered surfaces, and
- undertake near infrared assessment of rock and painted surfaces in a painted rockshelter in the Weld Range.
Sarah Slater (James Cook University) Exploring a novel site expression of Polymesoda erosa in the archaeological record of the South Wellesley Islands
Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the extensive shell middens of the South Wellesley Islands are dominated by a wide range of shellfish types. Notably, the mangrove-dwelling Polymesoda erosa does not appear until late in the sequence. When P.erosa emerge, they are associated with a novel site expression, appearing in discrete mono-specific and spatially restricted sites.
The objective of this project is to understand the circumstances of the emergence of P.erosa as a subsistence resource in terms of environmental and/or cultural change in the South Wellesley Islands and compare this with patterns of modern Kaiadilt foraging behaviours (ethnoarchaeologically recorded for Bentinck Island) in order to reconcile past and present patterns of behaviour. In order to provide a broader context, the data will also be compared with dates of exploitation of the same species across northern Australia (Williams & Ulm 2014). Study will be undertaken to understand the biology of P.erosa and associated species and to understand the evolution of mangrove ecosystems on the South Wellesley Islands in order to determine if the late appearance of P.erosa in the archaeological record is a result of environmental change. The appearance of P.erosa will also be considered as a cultural expression of changed mobility and foraging patterns and whether this is a potential response to increasing foreign excursions in the region.
When considering the environmental hypothesis, the evolution of mangrove communities sufficient to support P.erosa will be determined by drawing on palaeoenvironmental sequences, (Moss et al 2015). Additionally, the presence of associated mangrove-dwelling taxa in the shell matrix may identify changing environments and the cultural selection processes (Manne & Veth 2015). In considering changed mobility patterns, an analysis of established foraging theories will be undertaken to assess if the discrete scatters of P.erosa in the context of the larger archaeological matrix across the island are compatible with an existing model of resource exploitation and settlement (Bird & Bird 1997; Meehan 1982). With regard to the exploitation of P.erosa as a result of an increased foreign presence, the evidence of Macassan activities in the South Wellesley Islands will be explored (Oertle et al. 2014).
Bird, D.W. & Bliege Bird, R.L. 1997, Contemporary Shellfish Gathering Strategies among the Meriam of the Torres Strait Islands, Australia: Testing Predictions of a Central Place Foraging Model. Journal of Archaeological Science 24(1):39-63.
Manne, T. and Veth, P.M. 2015 Late Pleistocene and early Holocene exploitation of estuarine communities in Australia. Quaternary International. In press.
Meehan, B. 1982 Shell Bed to Shell Midden. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.
Moss, P., Mackenzie, L., Ulm, S., Sloss, C., Rosendahl, D., Petherick, L., Steinberger, L., Wallis, L., Heijnis, H., Petchey, F. & Jacobsen, G. 2015 Environmental context for late Holocene human occupation of the South Wellesley Archipelago, Gulf of Carpentaria, northern Australia. Quaternary International. In press.
Oertle, A., Leavesley, M., Ulm, S., Mate, G. & Rosendahl, D. 2014, At the margins: Archaeological evidence for Macassan activities in the South Wellesley Islands, Gulf of Carpentaria. Australasian Historical Archaeology 32: 64-71.
Williams, A.N., Ulm, S., Smith, M. and Reid J. 2014 AustArch: A Database of 14C and Non-14C Ages from Archaeological Sites in Australia - Composition, Compilation and Review (Data Paper). Internet Archaeology, (36). http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.36.6
Lara Tooby (University of Sydney) Shell monuments: What can shell deposits in Ballina reveal about socio-cultural processes of the past?
This research project aims to examine the social implications of the Ballina shell middens that have been hinted at, but not fully explored, despite over 40 years of archaeological investigations. Understanding social implications of shell deposits is important, as it humanises material remains and highlights their cultural -and heritage- significance. Shell material represent 39% of the known Indigenous archaeological remains of the region (Piper 2003, p. 30), and thus are a fundamental material for interpreting the past. Shell middens in the region have been interpreted principally in terms of subsistence activities, and yet there remains the opportunity to withdraw information about how the social organisation of ancestral Bundjalung communities operated through time in association with these communal gathering areas. This research will draw attention to the holistic archaeological landscape that surrounds shell middens, to deduce the social implications of the deposits in their regional context.
In order to understand the social implications of the shell middens, the research aims of this project will be as follows:
- Explore the changing cultural landscape of Ballina region from the Late Holocene to the colonial period
- Infer the functional -and perhaps symbolic- role the shell middens had in the social lives of Bundjalung ancestors within Ballina region.
- Re-assess the heritage significance of the shell middens when taking into consideration how the shell deposits shaped the cultural landscape of the Bundjalung ancestors through time.
The research aims are possible through rigorous data collection and analytical interpretation. A visual QGIS database will be accumulated to examine all the excavation data of the region, enhanced by geographic, ecological, geological and (when relevant) ethnohistorical data. From this, the cultural landscape will be defined, with patterns of movement and land utilisation mapped to deduce what areas were being used for what purposes. By focusing on the landscape surrounding shell middens, as well as the middens themselves, the deposits will be linked to a broader socio economic system. Archaeological sites will be mapped in association with the shell remains, moving interpretation from isolated acts of subsistence, to past social activities and behaviours. This research does not assume that the high visibility of shell middens (in comparison to other material remains) results in cultural centrality. Nevertheless, because shell middens are often the most discernible evidence of past societies in Ballina, broadening their research potential increases their usefulness in deducing past human lives in the region, as well as positively shaping their heritage significance. Despite the copious amount of archaeological assessments done, Gollan (1992) points that there has been a lack preservation of shell mounds and archaeological sites within the Ballina region, and extending the research potential of middens may positively affect their heritage conservation efforts.
We would also like to thank our generous sponsors, who have helped support this award in 2016:
- Artefact Heritage Services
- Comber Consultants
- North Qld Cultural Heritage
- Ochre Imprints
- Thomson Cultural Heritage Management
- Virtus Heritage
- Wallis Heritage Consulting
Thank you also to all of the applicants who applied - we’re sorry we couldn’t fund more of the projects. We wish everyone the best of luck in your studies this year and look forward to hearing about the results in due course.
AACAI would like to thank Fenella Atkinson once agian for doing such good work with th AACAI Student Fund.
Where are you and what are you up to?
Senior Archaelogical Consulting Services
San Diego, California, United States of America
Project - Working on Native American Sites through the San Diego Archaeological Center
Prof Richard Mackay
Richard is preparing the heritage theme for the State of the Environment 2016 Report to the Commonwealth Parliament, and has been working as an ICOMOS cultural heritage advisor to the World Heritage Committee.
Ian works mainly in the World Heritage arena these days, as an advisor and assessor. Recent field missions include the Batanes Islands in the Philippines and he has done a number of desk assessments of World Heritage nominations in various parts of the world for both ICOMOS and IUCN. He will be going to Japan soon to advise on a nomination there. His current university research focuses on World Heritage and Indigenous people and is funded by the Australian Research Council and Swiss Network for International Studies.
Liala has just completed a biography of Robert Coveny, an Australian who became an officer in the Black Watch and died in attempting the rescue of Gordon in Khartoum. It is being printed and should be available in November. Present field of study: looking at aspects of my past archaeological work in Queensland that may need to be reconsidered and/or expanded.
Project Area: the Queensland Gold Coast area
A sentence to capture the essence of your work current project or study program.
My past work in Queensland concentrated on recording physical archaeological aspects – I now wish to consider environmental and cultural contexts more broadly.
We hope to bring you more information on this exciting publication in the next Newsletter.