Brigid Gallagher

Stone Tool Artefacts & Simon Holdaway on Graeme Hill Show, May 1 - Digging the Dirt

May 01, 2011

I just wanted to get this out there before Graeme Hills Radio Live  show tomorrow/today, May 1.  At 11.30 am Graeme is going to be speaking with Professor Holdaway of Auckland Universities Anthropology Dept.  They will be talking stone tools, and the segment is titled ‘Rare and Ancient Trades’. I don’t know where the conversation is going to lead, but Holdaway was featured in the Herald last year due his research in Egypt on stone artefacts, which is part of a larger project lead from UCLA and Rijksuniversiteit, Groningen.  He also directs the Western New South Wales Archaeological Project (WNSWAP) with Patricia Fanning of Macquarie University.  The description on the WNSWAP website is; The projects use the latest electronic survey equipment, GIS, and database software to map, document and analyse the distribution of Aboriginal stone artefacts and associated heat-retainer … Read More

Lest We Forget – Anzac Bay - Digging the Dirt

Apr 25, 2011

Outside it is raining.  On the television Anzac commemorations from around the country have been demonstrating that even with rain, people still want to remember our past servicemen and military events.  But it is the physical elements of our Anzac day celebrations that have set me thinking…and an article in our local paper, the Waihi Leader.  And then I thought I would share them in an act of remembrance. In the Waihi Leader,  Kit Wilson and Sue Baker Wilson, well known local heritage advocates and researchers, wrote that the naming of Anzac Bay, at Bowentown, Bay of Plenty occurred on November 11 1915; some 7 months after the first landing by Anzac forces at Gallipoli, and almost 2 months prior to the end of the campaign.  One of the earliest commemoration sites in the country. Anzac Bay, Bowentown, Waihi Beach The Bay … Read More

Time Capsules and the ‘Wow’ Factor - Digging the Dirt

Apr 13, 2011

The long awaited opening of not 1, but 3, Time Capsules were opened in Christchurch yesterday by mayor Bob Parker. So far only some of the contents have been described including a 1922 book on the history of Christchurch, some photographs, a plumbers label and various news paper clippings. No Hidden Treasures have been reported. As an archaeologist and conservator this has been a moment I have been looking forward to with anticipation.  Their opening probably encapsulates one of the primary motivators for many archaeologists to keep on digging…the anticipation, or in some cases the expectation, that one day you will strike it lucky and discover a find of such significance or beauty that all of those days excavating in the rain, wind, snow, heat, swamp, with no proper toilets, will be worth it! The reporting I have … Read More

Christchurch Update…the demolition list - Digging the Dirt

Apr 04, 2011

On Friday April 1, a list was released that announced the fate of 68 heritage buildings, amongst others.   Designated for demolition, partial demolition or to make safe, the names of recognisable buildings are visible.  Of the 68, 43 are to be demolished 9 are to be made safe 16 are to be partially demolished But what does this mean? After a couple of weeks of what appeared to be careful reporting by the media, using the word deconstruction, we seem to be back to the use of demolition. Deconstruction engenders the idea of careful and deliberate taking apart of buildings.  Whilst this may be a 2-fold exercise, firstly dealing with the unstable collapse material, and later the still in situ upright material; in keeping with international best practise common to archaeological works there would be conservation plans and appropriate … Read More

‘Criminal Minds’ Brings Archaeology into Mainstream News - Digging the Dirt

Mar 30, 2011

Great to see some archaeology on TVNZ news this last week article here and video here.  It did make me chuckle however.  Why is it that something interesting for its own sake, needs to be sensationalised with the word, murder….!?  Is it the case that the legacy of Indiana Jones and the like are still leading the medias perception of what makes good archaeological news?  Is it that archaeologists themselves feel the need to up-play findings to make the news in the first place.  Or is it as Anna Sandiford wrote in “Talking the CSI Effect” last week, that the CSI phenomenon, or in my case, Criminal_Minds, has so influenced us, that to make this relevant to todays society, crime and forensics needs to be the focus of the reporting.  The Scene: The … Read More

Time will Tell for the Timeball - Digging the Dirt

Mar 23, 2011

This week I have had the opportunity to go through photographs taken of the Lyttleton Timeball station in its current disabled state.  The photography was taken during the recording of the Station using high resolution digital photography, Total Station survey and 3D laser scanning, and reported here  As I looked at the photography taken by Raysan Al-Kubaisi, I was struck by the history and events that this once strong and proud building would have witnessed 1876-1899 Timeline and 1900-1950 Timeline , and now reduced to gaping holes, subsidence and fragility.  I find this type of loss for heritage and a nation so sad.  The Timeball station is not the shell of a building that has experienced years of neglect and decay.  NZHPT has classified it as a Category 1 Historic Place, internationally significant to maritime history … Read More

What Archaeologists are doing in Christchurch – additions welcome! - Digging the Dirt

Mar 19, 2011

I thought it would be interesting to review some of the activities that archaeologists and conservators have been involved in within Christchurch this past week.  This information has been collated from a variety of sources, if there is any misrepresentation or inaccuracies please let me know.  If there anything to add to this, it would be great to hear it.  Since the beginning of the recovery period of operations it has been noticeable that a more business like tone has been given to reporting.  So what is happening? Statistics and Lists CCC Media Release, March 14: a total of 837 protected heritage buildings in Christchurch have been assessed since the 22 February earthquake. Of those, 338 have received red placards, 24 of which have been approved for deconstruction.  Like it or not, lists allow for accountability, and give people a … Read More

Talking Christchurch Heritage - Digging the Dirt

Mar 10, 2011

Hurrah for Mary O’Keeffe!  I have just watched the Breakfast interview with Mary about heritage buildings in Christchurch. I have some how managed to miss it in amongst all of the other heritage hits available on the world wide web.  At last a member of the professional heritage community stepping forward to make comment and answer some of the accusations being flung at the feet of heritage. I have been quietly watching and reading the articles and media releases reporting on the state of Christchurch heritage, and what will happen next.  I have also started blogging about this each evening for the past week, and then I read back what I wrote… To put it mildly, I have read back like a frenzied enthusiast, with the heart of an activist, hell bent on preaching to the world … Read More

Have we got history, part II - Digging the Dirt

Mar 06, 2011

Having enthusiastically started blogging with the title ‘Have we got history’ 2 weeks ago I was metaphorically knocked off my perch with the news of the Canterbury earthquake. I often wonder at the relative ‘luxurious’ nature of my profession as I scan the front section of the morning paper, and for the last 2 weeks, more than ever this is something that I have been reflecting, and now write. In heritage and archaeology we are so often concerned with past populations and cultures, not the ones that live now. What has become more apparent to me, for the first time in my own cultural reality, that I have been watching the formation of our history. Not only will this latest cataclysmic event trigger change on a social and cultural level above ground, its imprint or scar will also be … Read More

Have we got history? - Digging the Dirt

Feb 18, 2011

A typical conversation at a party, bbq or cafe…. ‘An archaeologist? So, what are you doing back here then? We don’t have anything to dig up. We don’t have history. Wouldn’t you be better back over in the UK. Things are really old over there’. ‘Yes’, I say. ‘It is great in the UK, the Romans 2000 years ago, Iron Age Britain 3000 years ago, the Saxons, the Normans, the Tudors…the Vikings! But we do have history. There are archaeologists here. And they are working’. Chuckling…’hehe, yeh, a bit of old plate my grandmother threw out, hehe, a bit old fencing wire, hehe, some Maori things. That’s nothing very interesting. Its not very old is it. We have not been here long enough.’ ‘Yes’, I say. ‘Things are not as old as Europe or other parts of the world, but if we do not care about the … Read More