MATERIAL CULTURE STUDIES
Archaeological investigation very often produces artefacts. An artefact generally is a portable item, whole or fragmentary, that provides specific information about the lives and activities of the people who have occupied a place. Artefacts can provide a wealth of information about aspects of culture that are poorly or often not recorded in other ways. This is particularly true for poorer and less literate sectors of society. They are evocative and bring a sense of immediacy between past and present communities; often they are used in helping to interpret the past life of a site in a new development. Material culture studies can also encompass stationary items and the specific issues that arise from the conservation and interpretation of a relic still in its context.
CRM has been at the forefront of material culture management developing many of the practices that are now commonly used by most practitioners. We have been responsible for some of the largest assemblages (discrete groups of artefacts from a single site) excavated from Australian sites. The principal of CRM, Wendy Thorp, has a particularly extensive knowledge of nineteenth century ceramics.
Examples of our work in this area include:
Identification, Recording and Analysis of European and Asian Rock Engravings North head Quarantine Station (NPWS 1983)
Management of and specific contributions to the artefact assemblage from the Paddys Market redevelopment site, Sydney (Rockvale Pty Ltd 1990).
Comparative study of artefact assemblages Sydney First Government House Site, Hyde Park Barracks and the Royal Mint (Department of Planning 1994)
Management of the artefact assemblage from the excavation of 95-101 George Street Parramatta (Leighton Properties Pty Ltd 2004)
Management of the artefact assemblage 150 Marsden Street Parramatta (Austral 2006)