Ask an Archaeologist Day with Nick Hadnutt

21 July marks #AskanArchaeologistDay, so we’ve asked Curator or Archaeology Nick Hadnutt three burning questions. Why did you become an archaeologist? I had worked successfully in customer service for a number of years before realising I needed a significant career change. After much head scratching, I completed a career aptitude test (I highly recommend them!) which focussed on identifying the various components within work that … Continue reading Ask an Archaeologist Day with Nick Hadnutt

Four years and a Pandemic in the making

Dr Geraldine Mate, Cultures & Histories program This week Queensland Museum archaeologists start fieldwork in an exciting community-led project exploring Australian South Sea Islander lived identities in the Mackay region.   Imagine the scene… A fenced cattle paddock, some old concrete foundations, and a lovely tropical garden arrayed along a small quiet country road. One day two port-a-loos arrive, the next a bus and two 4WDs arrive and 15 archaeologists, anthropologists, … Continue reading Four years and a Pandemic in the making

Objects of War: The First World War Antiquities project

Written by Mr James Donaldson (Museum Manager and Curator, R.D. Milns Antiquities Museum, The University of Queensland) and Dr Brit Asmussen (Senior Curator, Cultures and Histories, Queensland Museum). Queensland Museum and The RD Milns Antiquities Museum, The University of Queensland, are collaborating on a research partnership to learn more about the antiquities collecting activities of Australian WW1 personnel. Learn more about how this research project is … Continue reading Objects of War: The First World War Antiquities project

Tower Mill: An Archaeological Investigation of Queensland’s Oldest Surviving Building

By Taylor O’Neill – Museum Studies student at the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology. Known as the Old Windmill or The Observatory, Tower Mill is an instantly recognisable part of Brisbane City and Queensland’s oldest building. What can archaeology tell us about this place? Located on Brisbane City’s Wickham Terrace, you’ve probably glanced at Tower Mill once or twice … Continue reading Tower Mill: An Archaeological Investigation of Queensland’s Oldest Surviving Building

Investigating Backstamps: The Trials and Tribulations

by Isabella Zust-Sullivan, Student Intern, The University of Queensland When dealing with fragmented plates, saucers and cups, backstamps can be really useful in providing more information about these artefacts. However, with successful investigation also comes the inevitable mystery that arises when cases go unsolved. A Sea of Ceramic Over the past couple of weeks, I have worked at Queensland Museum as a University of Queensland … Continue reading Investigating Backstamps: The Trials and Tribulations

Held within eternal wrappings | Animal mummies in the Queensland Museum collection

Animal mummies in Ancient Egypt In ancient Egypt, a wide variety of animals were mummified. Household pets could be interred with their masters so they could be together in the afterlife; joints of poultry and meat were wrapped in linen and placed in tombs as […]

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Grindstone – ancient multi-tools

Marisa Giorgi, Information Officer, Queensland Museum Grindstones are a relatively common tool found across Australia. But did you know grindstones have many varied uses? Archaeological science is revealing the complex nature of these stone artefacts. Introduction At Queensland Museum we have many grindstones of different shapes and sizes from across Queensland. These grindstones represent durable examples of everyday items used by Indigenous Australian people.  They … Continue reading Grindstone – ancient multi-tools

Looking through the Glass

by Dave Parkhill, Assistant Collection Manager Clear as Glass? Glass was used throughout the Roman world, with various applications and methods of manufacturing, and with colours ranging from an almost clear, pale green to vivid blues or other bright colours. A Dubious Origin Story Glass objects, mainly in the form of simple glass beads have been dated to approximately the 3rd millenium BCE, but it … Continue reading Looking through the Glass

Setting the Table: Archaeology and Food

Marc Cheeseman, Archaeologist/Master’s Student, UQ In every culture large proportions of time are dedicated to food-related activities, but how can archaeologists investigate this relationship? And what can this information tell us about the development of modern Australia? Introduction From the 19th century to World War I, minerals (mostly gold) made up roughly one third of yearly Australian exports. During this time, as the economy expanded … Continue reading Setting the Table: Archaeology and Food

Exploring family history through artefacts

Hannah Craig-Ward, PhD Candidate, The University of Queensland Archaeologists explore the past lives of people using many different approaches, depending on their particular area of research interest. In historical archaeology, identity, is one concept often explored, and made up of  facets including gender, religion, class, age, occupation, ethnicity, and social networks (King 2006:312; Lawrence and Davies 2011:223; Terry 2014:39). Identity is integral to one’s sense … Continue reading Exploring family history through artefacts

Digging in the archaeology collection

Nick Hadnutt, Curator, Archaeology, Queensland Museum During a routine audit of the Museum’s ancient stone tools, I happened across a stone axe with some interesting text upon. Investigating the text connected me with a World War 1 hero. One of the roles of a curator is to investigate and research the collections they are responsible for in order to better understand them. In doing so, … Continue reading Digging in the archaeology collection

What do archaeologists do when there is a global pandemic?

Dr Geraldine Mate, Acting Program Head, Cultures and Histories Program, Queensland Museum and Sciencentre   What do you do when you can’t go into the field due to Pandemic? The answer is stay home! But that doesn’t mean archaeologists stop work… This year was to be the year of archaeological fieldwork for our team. At the moment Queensland Museum is involved in some really exciting … Continue reading What do archaeologists do when there is a global pandemic?

Collecting antiquities during wartime – the First World War Antiquities Project

Written by Mr James Donaldson (Museum Manager and Curator, R.D. Milns Antiquities Museum, The University of Queensland) and Dr Brit Asmussen (Acting Principal Curator, Cultures and Histories, Queensland Museum) Queensland Museum and The RD Milns Antiquities Museum, University of Queensland, are collaborating on a research partnership to learn more about the antiquities collecting activities of Australian WW1 personnel.  Soldiers and collectors The collection of souvenirs … Continue reading Collecting antiquities during wartime – the First World War Antiquities Project

Uncovering Pacific Pasts: Histories of archaeology in Oceania

As part of the Collective Biography of Archaeology in the Pacific (CBAP) Project (led by the Australian National University in Canberra), the Museum of Tropical Queensland is currently participating in the worldwide exhibition, Uncovering Pacific Pasts: Histories of archaeology in Oceania. The collaborative display is featured in over 30 collecting institutions around the world, and explores the ideas, people and networks that were pivotal in … Continue reading Uncovering Pacific Pasts: Histories of archaeology in Oceania

Re-imagining Pandora

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. In 1790, HMS Pandora sailed out of England with a clear mission: to find the HMS Bounty and its 25 mutineers. Pandora reached Tahiti in March 1791, and captured 14 of the mutineers, … Continue reading Re-imagining Pandora

Well, that’s a pickle!

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories Sometimes when working with the collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, you see an object that just makes you stop in your tracks. The object featured today is one that really made … Continue reading Well, that’s a pickle!

A compass gimbal from Mermaid

Written by Carl Tanner, compiled by Dr Madeline Fowler

The final part of a blog series written by undergraduate students at James Cook University, who undertook research on objects in the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s maritime archaeology collection as part of the 2017 topic AR3008 Boats and Beaches.

The shipwreck

HMCS Mermaid was built at the Howrah Dry Docks on the Hooghly River in Calcutta, India, in 1816, by the shipwrights Thompson (Phipps 1840:108, 123). Built out of Indian teak, it was iron-fastened and clad in copper sheathing along the keel (Hosty 2009:17). Designed as a cutter, it was originally rigged as a one-masted ship, but was refitted later into an armed, two-masted schooner (Hosty 2009:17; ANSD 2017). The ship displaced 83-85 gross registered tons, was 17m in length, 5.48-5.6m in beam and had a draught of 2.7m (Hosty 2009:17; Phipps 1840:123; ANSD 2017).

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A porthole from Gothenburg

Written by Tia Eagleson, compiled by Dr Madeline Fowler

Part of a blog series written by undergraduate students at James Cook University, who undertook research on objects in the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s maritime archaeology collection as part of the 2017 topic AR3008 Boats and Beaches.

 The shipwreck

The site of the Gothenburg wreck is in Flinders Passage, North QLD (Latitude: -19.37 Longitude: 148.06). Gothenburg was built in the UK in 1854 by Mr. John Scott Russel. The vessel, a twin-screw steamer, has numerous features in view at the site of the wreck which are indicative of the build of the ship. These consist of two compound single screw engines each with 60 individual horsepower, two decks and three masts and a female figurehead with an elliptical shaped stern. The dimensions of the ship were 59.92m in length, 8.6m in width and 3.23m in depth. Overall, the vessel weighed approximately 737 tonnes. This shipwreck is identified as number 2563 (Australian National Shipwreck Database; Central Queensland Herald 1931:13).

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Copper-alloy sheathing from Coolangatta

Written by Caroline Mercer, compiled by Dr Madeline Fowler

Part 3 of a blog series written by undergraduate students at James Cook University, who undertook research on objects in the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s maritime archaeology collection as part of the 2017 topic AR3008 Boats and Beaches.

The shipwreck

Coolangatta was built by John Brinksell in 1843 in Shoalhaven, New South Wales (NSW) (Davidson 2014). It was commissioned and owned by Alexander Berry, who named the brigantine sailing vessel after his property in the area (Potts 2010). The boat’s life was largely spent transporting goods up and down the eastern coast of Australia, bringing materials such as coal to the north and most often returning to Sydney with a cargo of timber (Potts 2010). At the time of the wrecking of Coolangatta, it had recently delivered coal to Brisbane and was starting its return trip back to Sydney when it was wrecked. On 19 August 1846, Coolangatta was driven ashore during a gale as it attempted to enter the Tweed River (Davidson 2014). The ship was abandoned by the crew and Captain Steele, after it was stripped of any removable gear and rigging (Davidson 2014). A couple of months later there was an attempt to repair the vessel, with Brinksell being brought up from NSW to repair the damage on the port side (Davidson 2014). However, shortly after the wreck was lifted onto rollers, another gale forced it into a worse position and the keel broke, ending any hopes of repairing the ship (Potts 2010).

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A sperm sewing machine oil bottle from Aarhus

Written by Tate Devantier-Thomas, compiled by Dr Madeline Fowler

This is part of a blog series written by undergraduate students at James Cook University, who undertook research on objects in the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s maritime archaeology collection as part of the 2017 topic AR3008 Boats and Beaches. Continue reading “A sperm sewing machine oil bottle from Aarhus”