Dig It, From the Dig It Archives

From the Dig It Archives: Issue Six 1999

By Holly Winter


This post of ‘From the Dig It Archives’ includes three interesting articles from Issue 6 1999 that explore the endeavours of the Flinders ArchSoc and the experience of a student studying overseas.

In ‘Presidential Address’ (1999:3-4), President Gordon Copland discusses the success and activities of the first semester, 1999, for the Flinders University Archaeology Society, with social events like a BBQ in the Botanical Gardens and a trip for first year students to Belair. Many of these events have carried their tradition into the present day, such as fair/market days and the revival of the newsletter.

The second article, ‘Coronation Street on Crack’ by Bianca DiFazio (1999:11-12), explains what it is like to study and live overseas. I found this article particularly interesting, since I went on the same exchange program to the University of Leicester during semester two of 2012. Bianca discusses the history surrounding Leicester and its association with King Richard III, commenting that it would be interesting to locate his remains. While I was at Leicester, the remains of King Richard III were found and were successfully identified earlier this year. It is interesting to hear the thoughts of a past Flinders student living in Leicester where it all happened, considering the parallels between our experiences.

Lastly, Susan Piddock’s (1999:14) ‘The History of the Flinders University Archaeology Society’ unravels the beginnings of the Society. Susan discusses the numerous efforts it had accomplished to provide students with field trips, conference funding, library displays, and an active newsletter.

What is your favourite memory about Flinders, the Archaeology Department and ArchSoc?


Copland, G. 1999 Presidential Address. Dig It: Newsletter of the Flinders Archaeological Society 6:3-4.

DiFazio, B. Coronation Street on Crack. Dig It: Newsletter of the Flinders Archaeological Society 6:11-12.

Piddock, S. The History of the Flinders University Archaeology Society. Dig It: Newsletter of the Flinders Archaeological Society 6:14.


Presidential Address

Hi Di Ho Campers,

Well here we are halfway through the year again and before we know it 1999 will be a part of the Archaeological Record. I hope you have enjoyed the activities my hard working committee and myself have put together so far. There is more to come and perhaps a little more organised. We took a bit of time to get going but I feel that it is coming together now. I won’t go into the coming events as they are mentioned later so I will address some of the activities already held and perhaps give you some idea of the direction I hope the Society is taking.

Thanks to the foresight and help of Susan Piddock, our trusty treasurer, the year started with enrolment where pamphlets were given out to the enrollees. This was followed by a stall at Fair Day where we raffled a slab of beer, gave out and sold sausages, had a caption competition and a lucky “sieve your own prize” dip. The latter was not as successful as hoped but the rest went well thanks to the help of club members and particularly chefs and chefets; Chris, Jacob and Donna. Chris, mild mannered reporter for  Dig It, won the caption comp. and in the raffle Bianca won the beer, Tracy the wine and Amy the Zirconia she if oft seen wearing about the Uni. We didn’t make a lot of money but it was a good promotion as well as good fun.

We had the AGM and have had a number of meetings since. I think I will try to get a set day to have these meetings as trying to pick different days has been really difficult. The intention of different days has been to allow as many as possible to attend but it still hasn’t worked. At the meetings we have talked about future activities and funding plus; we had Bianca tell us of work in Archaeology in the UK and her time at Leicester, and a video on Mummies which was kindly lent to us by Gwen Fenton.

Social events so far have been the BBQ at the Botanic Park and with the First Years at Belair as well as an introductory free tea and coffee during the break of the First Year’s lecture. As a new idea some of these events have been recorded on video with the intention of using this as a promotional video for future events and membership recruitment. as for archaeological events we held a trench squares and excavations workshop and although it was not well attended, probably due to the torrential rain, those that did attend seems to enjoy themselves in the comfort of my shed with an ale and a chat. The time was also spent folding the invitations for one of the tow public lectures the Society has co-hosted with the Archaeology Department. I’m sure that those who have attended these lectures will agree that as well as being stimulating, the chance to meet the both Howard Morphy and Michael Morwood plus friends from the Art, Anthropological, Archaeological’, Museum and associated Government and Agency fraternity, makes the events well worth attending . Networking never hurt anyone. There are many thanks to be given to those in the Society who have helped in the preparation of these lectures particularly as the Society i s able to raise funds at these events. Look out for the next two in Semester Two. This semester, through the Archaeology Society and with assistance from the Archaeology Department, Society Members, First Year Students and equipment from the geography Department, I have been able to run an excavation at Chinamans Hut in Waterfall Gully.

This event has provided well needed experience for myself in running such a project from beginning to end. While such events benefit the State Heritage Department, who provided the permits, with the provision of the final report, it was the actual activity of practical experience that benefited the Society members and other students. Under the watchful eye of Trench Supervisor Darren Griffin with the assistance of Bianca DiFazio, plus myself and during the First Year workday Keryn Walshe and our leader Vincent Megaw, we all had a fruitful and enjoyable experience. Even if some were heard to say “please don’t find anything else to record!” and later others had nightmares of setting up squares. With approximately 160 visitors so far and over 60 Society members and students involved, both the Archaeology Society and the Archaeology Department, and others such as the Division of State Aboriginal Affairs and the National Parks who gave approval to the excavation, have gained a wider exposure and well deserved higher profile. It is hoped that the Archaeology Society will he able to provide such experience again in the near future as part of its commitment to providing an avenue for developing skills and implementing the academic knowledge provided by the Archaeology Department.

Which brings me to our future directions for the Society and those, apart from on-going development as previously mentioned, will take the form of; continuing social events, trips and conference funding which can be increased by the funds we can raise, talks and seminars, workshops, exhibitions, and the possibility of considering making this members’ newsletter into a journal, creating an Archaeology Society Badge, and even possibly funding training aids and equipment for the department which ultimately benefits ourselves. So remember if you have any other ideas or suggestions don’t hesitate to pass these on to a Committee member or put them in the Archaeology Society In Box in the office as your input assists our output.

I will close this overly long missive by wishing you all the best for the next semester, hope you enjoyed the last, and the the Committee and myself will see as many of you as possible at future events.


Gordon Copland

President, June 1999


Coronation Street on Crack

Bianca DiFazio

I said I would write an article about my experiences at Leicester University for this edition of Dig It, but as I sit here in front of my computer I am wondering which parts of it to write about. Quite a few of you have tracked me down on the plaza, or in the Tav, to ask me questions about going to Leicester, with the emphasis mainly on the logistics of it. How much will it cost, where will I live, do I need a British passport, and so on. These are, indeed, important questions, and I myself asked them many times over before I left in 1997. However, I think on this occasion I will talk about how it felt to live in Leicester, and how it felt to be a local in an English city.

Leicester itself is pretty interesting. Admittedly you have to look a bit harder for the interesting stuff than you would in, say, Oxford or Bath, but once you start looking beneath the layers of grime that coat all industrial cities in this part of the world, it is quite amazing what you find. Firstly we found the Richard III Society, which acts out the Battle of Bosworth Field every Saturday during the summer. Unlike most other parts of England Leicester has a soft spot for Dirty Dick, and in fact, do not think of him as having been so dirty after all. Which of course he wasn’t. Shakespeare was simply writing propaganda for Elizabeth I, and the stories of Richard’s hump, and his murder of the Princes in the Tower is all pure fiction. In Leicester, Richard is a hero. The Battle of Bosworth field took place just outside the city, and when Henry threw Richard’s body in the River Soar afterwards the local monks of the Greyfriars fished it out and gave it the honourable burial that befits an honourable king. Just as an aside, it should be noted that somewhere under an island of factories in the river the body of Richard III is still buried, but nobody knows where. Exciting thought for an archaeologist, eh? Leicester has some lovely Tudor buildings, also, and it played an important role in the Elizabethan period…

Speaking of Tudor … We lived on Paget Road in Leicestcr (very near the canal and the town) and Paget Road was as offshoot of Tudor Road which had an interesting claim to fame, apart from having our local pub on it (called The Tudor Hotel, surprise, surprise). The claim to fame of Tudor Road was that it was the longest street of connected up terrace houses in the world. It went for miles , rooftop after rooftop, front door after front door, and not a bit of greenery on sight. Still, we lived with a bunch of lads who were great. Big Martin the Geordie, Mike the Hippie, Rich who never stopped looking in the mirror, and Little Martin who had the best grin and would greet people by saying “Eeeasy!” All this and three Australians made for a pretty crowded house, but it could never be said that it was boring.

So Leicester has just as much history as any other English city, more even, and although our area looked like Coronation Street on Crack it was cool. But what was it like to live there and be part of it? I don’t know how to describe it, although, I suppose, it’s like living anywhere. You have good days and bad days, days when you love the place and days when you hate it. One occasion I really hated it was when, during a minor dispute about the volume of next door’s stereo, we had all ore front windows smashed in with a baseball bat. Cheery stuff, however, afterwards we antipodeans all agreed that there was an element of living in an episode of The Bill. The English lads we lived with did not seem nearly so surprised as we were that such a thing had occurred. At the other end of the spectrum there were days that I loved Leicester and didn’t want to leave. When the sun was shining we would head into town along the canal bank for some retail therapy in the excellent Leicester marketplace, and when it was snowing we would head up North Walk to the Uni having snowball fights all the way, and feeding grey squirrels that followed us in the trees above.

So what has this told you about Leicester? Not much probably. Where you live is what you make it. If you still want to know the other stuff, the how and where and who of getting it together to go, just give me a yell next time you see me. But I just want to say, before I finish, that an exchange is the best study year you can give yourself, so if you have the means I highly recommend taking yourself off and doing it.


The History of the Flinders University Archaeology Society

The Flinders University Archaeology Society was born in 1991. At the time the FU. Visual Arts was transforming itself into the Department of Visual Arts and Archaeology with three archaeology courses on offer. In tis first year of operation, the Society actively sought to promote a wide range of activities including study groups, seminars and trips to conferences. One of the first conferences the Society attended was the inaugural Women in Archaeology at Arrnidale. The Society was also active in promoting student access to other institutions to widen the pool of archaeology courses available. From the very beginning, the Society sought to make its own links with archaeological departments and individuals outside of the University as these people are an important resource.

Over the last eight years the Society has been very active in trying to get students access to field work. With the then State Heritage (now Heritage SA) Maritime Unit the Society helped excavate a dry dock at Mannum in 1994 and provided written reports to the Unit on the work done. This helped identify the Society as an important part of the Flinders University archaeology culture. The Society has undertaken field trips regularly, including those to Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Ranges in 1996-97 so that students could see archaeological sites outside of the text books. Over the last eight years, Flinders archaeology students have contributed to a wide range of excavations run by consultants and department staff. The Society has fulfilled the important role of being a conduit linking theory with practice.

The Society has regularly contributed large contingents of students to conferences and helped run the Australian Archaeological Association Conference held in SA – showing that, if there is a way, we will be there!

For the last four years or so the Society has regularly held archaeolgy displays in the F.U. Library. These are major undertakings and are based on the work of students. In 1997 and 1998 the Society played host to groups of school students touring the Dig It exhibition organised by lecturers and students as a component of their Museum Studies course. Also, over these last four years the Society began a simple newsletter which has developed into something more substantial. Complete with photos and graphics, the publication goes out, not only to Flinders students but a wide range of archaeology professionals.

Susan Piddock.


To continue reading from Dig It 6, click here: DigIt6

Look out for the next edition of ‘From the Dig It Archives’ on Wednesday 19th of June!