Public Archaeology

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Check out the third Public Archaeology Twitter Conference at #PATC3. Below is a transcript of my contribution.

Public Archaeology Twitter Conference #PATC3

Title

Garden Hill, Newfoundland and Labrador

Aircraft Wreckage, Site Use, and Local Museums

by Dr. Lisa M. Daly, PhD

#PATC3 #PATC #aviation #archaeology

Photo credits: top left: Barnes et al. 1944; bottom left: Lisa M. Daly; right: Shannon K. Green

Slide 2 – Aviation History in Newfoundland and Labrador

Many NL communities have stories of aircraft overhead, famous aviators, missing flights, and plane crashes. Some communities were created or shaped by aviation and the building of aerodromes in the Second World War #PATC3

Map from Toporama 2019

Slide 3 – The Crash of USAAF 42-107427

USAAF C-54A 42-107427 crashed on the Port-au-Port Peninsula en route to Harmon Field, when sloppy weather blew it off course. 9 or 18 crew died on site, 3 later in hospital. Survivors walked to a nearby town where locals helped them. #PATC3 https://bit.ly/2Sck2ui


Slide 4 – Documentary & Archaeological Record

The site has been disturbed, the archaeological record is fragmented. The accident report is available & is a mix of technical language and witness statements. One newspaper article from 1944 rightfully worried about damage if a highway is built nearby #PATC3

Slide 5 – Public Presentation

At a presentation at the Stephenville #museum, I shared the info I had (arch and report), while the community shared related stories. The @western_star carried an article “archaeologist researching […] through local responders” #PATC3

Stephenville Regional Museum of History and Art. Photo by Lisa M. Daly

Slide 6 – Public Engagement

This engagement allowed me to hear the story of the museum’s propeller. It was recovered from the wreck and the tip removed to make spinning wheel spindle. It stayed in the craftman’s yard until the museum opened and a resident offered to collect it #PATC3

Photo by Lisa M. Daly

Slide 7 – Personal Touches

Witness statements tell how the crash was experienced “there was no confusion among the passengers” “I could hear the trees cracking” “the plane made a jerk like it hit an air pocket or something” “whether I walked through or was thrown though, I don’t know” #PATC3

Slide 8 – Map vs. Aerial Photo

Hand-drawn maps show what the author considered important to relate but do not capture the chaos and confusion seen in aerial site photos that show the actual wreckage. Personal, but at the same time, controlled. #PATC3

Slide 9 – Site Use

Since the crash, besides the propeller, the site was rarely visited. With the construction of a nearby road, the aircraft material has been mostly removed, a sign directs people to the site, a bench, campfires and decoratively arranged ceramics show site use #PATC3

Photo by Shannon K. Green

Slide 9 – Multidisciplinary

Combining all these elements gives a more complete story and makes it easier for people to engage and relate to the story, especially family and community members. Information is more accessible, less sterile, more personal. #PATC3

Slide 10 – Bias

This approach helps address bias, even your own. Sharing many elements of the story encourages others to share, and all the information can be critically assessed. Being open to new information encourages others to contribute, especially the public #PATC3

Slide 12 – Newfoundlanders as Storytellers

Newfoundlanders & Labradoreans love to hear & tell stories. Combining the archaeological, documentary, & folkloric elements to create the story of the site makes information accessible to interested parties & encourages others to share their part of the story #PATC3

Site Specific References

Barnes, George E., Barnie B. McEntire, and Robert H. Augustinus

1944 U.S. Army Forces Report of Aircraft Accident: Vicinity Cape St. George, Newfoundland. War Department: Harmon Field, Newfoundland.

Daly, L.M.

2015 Aviation Archaeology of World War II Gander: An Examination of Military and Civilian Life at the Newfoundland Airport. Doctoral thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland: Newfoundland.

Daly, L. and S. Green

2014 Garden Hill: The Crash of a USAAF C-54. Provincial Archaeology Office 2013 Archaeology Review, 12: 22-24.

Gale, Frank

1994 Association Wants 1944 Crash Site Preserved. The Western Star, 21 September 1994, p. 3.

Hurley, Corey

2013 Archaeologist Researching Crash Hill Through Local Responders. The Western Star, 09 August 2013 (online).

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Check out the Public Archaeology Twitter Conference at #PATC. Below is a transcript of my contribution.

Public Archaeology Twitter Conference #PATC

Title

A paper by Dr. Lisa M. Daly for #PATC

Preserving #Aviation #Archaeology Sites while Engaging in Public Interest: #PubArch

A Discussion with #Gander, #Newfoundland as a Case Study by Dr. Lisa M. Daly http://planecrashgirl.ca #PATC #PubArch

 

Abstract

Can archaeologists, communities, govs & museums protect #WWII #aviation wrecks & create public interest? A look at efforts in Gander #PATC

 

Text

Tweet 1

I’m researching #aviation #archaeology in Newfoundland & Labrador; recording & analysing the material culture of #WWII aviation #history #PATC

 

Tweet 2

My thesis focused on #Gander, the largest airbase in the world in #WWII, main start point for trans-Atlantic travel & a convoy base #PATC

 

Tweet 3

Due to the air traffic in Gander there were many accidents which remain on the landscape. Those close to the airbase were salvaged #PATC

 

Tweet 4

As Gander moved, grew & the highway built, more crashes became accessible & have been impacted. Most scrap metal has been removed #PATC

Tweet 5

Interesting objects are usually 1st removed (this machine gun was taken from one of two sites according to owner) losing provenience #PATC

 

Tweet 6

Sometimes this was done with gov permission (http://bit.ly/2p5nt6I) & sometimes govs ignore warnings about the risk to sites #PATC

 

Tweet 7

These #WWII sites are at risk and should be preserved but not hidden. A sense of community ownership is necessary for preservation #PATC

 

Tweet 8

#UASF B36 in Nut Cove is a success story. Trail, picnic tables & memorial make the site useable but little major damage has occurred #PATC

 

Tweet 9

Can communities, govs, archaeologists & museums save the sites? 1st, they need to work together & have preservation as a common goal. #PATC

 

Tweet 10

@GAHSYQX @NAAMGander #Gander & I promote history & work to further public interest & appreciation. New signs being developed #PATC

 

Tweet 11

#Gander community pride is strong, but as recent as 2011 I was told of site looting. Salvager caught, but material no longer in situ #PATC

 

Tweet 12

If sites are accessible hopefully enough has been done to dissuade people from removing material & will treat sites with dignity #PATC

 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to @GahsYQX @NAAMGander & @GanderAirport for support in #Gander, researchers M Deal, D Hillier & N Sherren & always @HellTank for help #PATC

 

References

References & links for this presentation can be found at http://www.planecrashgirl.ca/2017/04/26/patc/  #PATC #PubArch

 

End of #PATC Presentation

Image References

Title: Engines from RAF B-25 KJ584 in Gander, NL. Photo by author.

Subtitle: From Cardoulis 1990

Tweet 2: Ferrying routes from ibiblio.org

Tweet 4: USAAF B-17 42-97493 off the Trans-Canada Highway in Gander. Photo by author.

Tweet 5: A machine gun removed from a site in Gander. The owner was not clear what site it came from. Photo by author.

Tweet 6: Top image by Gale, bottom photo by author.

Tweet 8: Memorial at Burgoyne’s Cove for USAF RB-36H 51-13721. Photo by author.

Tweet 10: Faded signs marking where the buildings used to be in Gander. Photo by author.

Tweet 12: USAAF B-17 44-6344 in the Thomas Howe Demonstration Forest. Photo by author.

References

Cardoulis, J. N.
1990 A Friendly Invasion: The American Military in Newfoundland 1940-1990. Breakwater, St. John’s.

Daly, L.
2015 Aviation archaeology of World War II Gander: An Examination of Military and Civilian Life at the Newfoundland Airport. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Daly, L., & S. Green
2014 Garden Hill: The Crash of a USAAF C-54. Provincial Archaeology Office 2013 Archaeology Review, 12: 22-24.

Gale, F.
1994  Association Wants 1944 Crash Site Preserved. The Western Star, 21 September 1994, p. 3.

Other Relevant Websites

Gander Airport Historical Society @GASH

The North Atlantic Aviation Museum @NAAMGander

Gander Airport @GanderAirport

 

 

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