Everyday artefacts: subsistence and quality of life at the Prisoner Barracks, Port Arthur, Tasmania

D'Gluyas, Caitlin, Gibbs, Martin, Hamilton, Chloe, and Roe, David (2015) Everyday artefacts: subsistence and quality of life at the Prisoner Barracks, Port Arthur, Tasmania. Archaeology in Oceania, 50 (3). pp. 130-137.

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This study focuses on the archaeology of the c.1835–1877 Prisoner Barracks constructed at Port Arthur, the domestic quarters for civilian, military and incarcerated occupants spanning almost the entire convict period. Faunal and artefact analyses of the assemblage uncovered at this site were used to provide a more complex understanding of institutional life. The quality of life of the occupants, and how they chose to improve it, is identified through a range of documentary and archaeological sources. It is shown that the barracks complex was a place of domestic life within the confines of an institution. It is evident in the material culture that everyday activities of occupants included the preparation of food, presentation of the home and self, manual tasks such as the production of domestic items, and recreational activities including tobacco smoking and hunting. By assessing indicators of quality of life within an institutional framework, namely the supply of local and imported goods and the material culture of recreation, this work is able to explore potential activities of the occupants that are often hidden from official records. This is examined through a number of scalar units, considering global, local and individual perspectives of the Prisoner Barracks' landscape.

Item ID: 41276
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1834-4453
Keywords: Port Arthur; convict institutions; artefact analysis; faunal remains; consumption; supply
Funders: Port Arthur Historic Sites Management Authority
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2015 02:36
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210108 Historical Archaeology (incl Industrial Archaeology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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