The maritime archaeology and maritime cultural landscapes of Queenscliffe: a nineteenth century Australian coastal community

Duncan, Brad G. (2006) The maritime archaeology and maritime cultural landscapes of Queenscliffe: a nineteenth century Australian coastal community. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

This thesis develops a new methodological approach to the archaeology of Australian Colonial maritime landscapes and communities, based on a critical reading and evaluation of international advances in cultural landscape theory and research. It explores the full range of possible maritime sites situated both above and below the waterline, and characterizes the archaeological signatures of many previously unrecognized maritime and other non- shipwreck related sites associated with maritime societies. A key aspect of the thesis are the methods of collection, analysis and integration of archaeological, oral and documentary sources, and the complex interplay between the data sets.

The community of Queenscliff (Victoria, Australia), established in 1855, provides a case study by which to examine the problem of how to understand the archaeology of non-indigenous communities living and working across the land/sea divide. Three maritime themes of defence, fishing, and shipping mishaps are explored intensively to investigate the maritime utilization of the study area and the differing visibility of these activity types within the diverse data sets, especially the archaeological record. They also provide a backdrop for further consideration of the intricate web of relationships on land and sea that comprise a maritime community.

Observations of social and practical behaviors are linked to relict material cultural remains through the innovative use of GIS technology that facilitates thematic comparative analyses of multiple incongruent data sets and provides insights into overlapping landscapes. In particular, the availability of a surprising depth of previously unrecognized and unexplored traditional community knowledge facilitated striking ethno-archaeological observations that connected maritime culture with new types of archaeological sites. The dissertation establishes that understanding of each maritime landscape is made accessible only by using highly varied combinations of data sets.

This study clearly shows that in the Australian Colonial setting, non-indigenous maritime communities equally access both the terrestrial and nautical environments, and manipulate and experience their maritime surroundings in the same way as their terrestrial landscapes. The effects of social interaction between terrestrial and maritime groups are demonstrated to be strong contributing factors for landscape generation for all sectors of the community, where many crosscutting relationships formulate multiple overlapping landscapes and subsequent archaeological signatures. These complex and far-reaching social relationships highlight the complexity of studying maritime societies, and the strong interrelationship between land and sea areas. The cognitive driving mechanisms of several common types of maritime thematic landscapes in Colonial Australia are now better understood, as are their potential data sources and archaeological characterizations. Overall, the methodology was highly successful in accessing cultural meanings imbued in landscape, leading to a better understanding of the practices and social behaviours of maritime communities and providing challenging new research directions for Australian maritime archaeology.

Item ID: 2050
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: maritime archaeology, cultural landscapes, Queenscliffe, Victoria, 19th century, nineteenth century, coastal communities, Australia, military defences, fishing, cultural meaning, shipwrecks, maritime communities, anthropology
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2009 02:40
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 0%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies @ 0%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210110 Maritime Archaeology @ 0%
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