Dr Peter

Dr Peter Davies

Research Fellow

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Archaeology and History

Martin Building 165, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BA (Hons-Melbourne), MA (Melbourne), PhD (La Trobe).



Area of study


Brief profile

Peter Davies is a researcher whose work focuses on the social, industrial and environmental archaeology of colonial Australia. From 2016 he will play a leading role in the ARC-funded project ‘Rivers of Gold: The Legacy of Historical Gold Mining for Victoria’s Rivers’, which builds on previous ARC research on water management on the goldfields. Since completing his PhD in 2001 he has published three monographs, including An Archaeology of Australia Since 1788 (co-authored with Susan Lawrence), several dozen articles and book chapters and has held an ARC Linkage Post-Doctoral fellowship investigating the archaeology of the Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney. He has extensive experience of fieldwork in Cyprus, Turkey, Syria and around Australia. He also co-edits Australasian Historical Archaeology and is past editor of Studies in Australasian Historical Archaeology.

Research interests

Historical Archaeology

- Historical Archaeology

- Industrial Archaeology

Recent publications


  • Davies, P, T Murray and P Crook 2013,  An Archaeology of Institutional Confinement: The Hyde Park Barracks, 1848-1886, Sydney University Press, Sydney.
  • Lawrence, S and Davies, P 2011, An Archaeology of Australia since 1788. Springer, New York.
  • Davies, P, S Lawrence and J Turnbull 2015, Water and Gold: Interpreting the Landscape of Creswick Creek, Messmate Press, Melbourne.
  • Davies, P 2006, Henry’s Mill: Historical Archaeology of a Forest Community, Studies in Contemporary and Historical Archaeology 2, Archaeopress, Oxford.

Recent Articles

  • 2016, Remote sensing landscapes of water management on the Victorian goldfields, Australia. Journal of Archaeological Science 76:48-55 (with Susan Lawrence & Jodi Turnbull)ttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2016.10.009

  • 2016, The Archaeology of Water on the Victorian Goldfields. International Journal of Historical Archaeology (with Susan Lawrence and Jodi Turnbull). DOI: 10.1007/s10761-016-0330-0

  • 2016, The Archaeology of Anthropocene Rivers: Water Management and Landscape Change in Gold Rush Australia. Antiquity 90, 353:1348-1362  (with Susan Lawrence & Jodi Turnbull).

  • 2016, Cities in the Modern World. Post-Medieval Archaeology 50(1):53-72 (with Greig Parker). DOI: 10.1080/00794236.2016.1169825

  • 2016, The River Loddon and Tributaries Water Supply Company. Journal of Australasian Mining History 14:21-36 (with Susan Lawrence and Jodi Turnbull).

  • •2015, Mercury use and loss from gold mining in 19th-century Victoria. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 127:44-54 (with Susan Lawrence and Jodi Turnbull).

  • •2015, Historical maps, GIS and complex mining landscapes on the Victorian goldfields. Provenance 2015 (with Susan Lawrence and Jodi Turnbull).

    2015, Dams and Ditches: Cultural Landscapes of Colonial Water Management in the Central Highlands of Victoria,.Historic Environment 27(3):36-47 (with Susan Lawrence).
  • 2015, Cornish tin-streamers and the Australian gold rush: technology transfer in alluvial mining. Post-Medieval Archaeology 49(1):99-113 (with Susan Lawrence).
  • 2015,  Innovation, Adaptation and Technology as Habitus: The Origins of Alluvial Gold Mining Methods in Australia. Archaeology in Oceania 50:19-28 (Festschrift for David Frankel; with Susan Lawrence).
  • 2015, ‘A Law Unto Herself’: Matron Hicks and the Hyde Park Destitute Asylum, Sydney, Australia. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 19(3):552-67.
  • 2014, Bitumen paper pipes and technology transfer on the Victorian goldfields. Journal of Australasian Mining History 12:45-58 (with Susan Lawrence).
  • 2014, Landscape Learning in Colonial Australia: Technologies of Water Management on the Central Highlands Goldfields of Victoria. In D. Frankel, S. Lawrence, J. M. Webb (eds), Archaeology in Environment and Technology: Intersections and Transformations, Routledge, London, pp. 149-163.
  • 2014, Adapting to a Dry Continent: Technology and Environment in Australian Industrial Archaeology. In J. Symonds and V.-P. Herva (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Historical Archaeology, Oxford University Press, Oxford (with Susan Lawrence)DOI:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199562350.013.11
  • 2014, The Sludge Question: The Regulation of Mine Tailings in Nineteenth-Century Victoria. Environment and History 20:385-410. (with Susan Lawrence).
  • 2014, A mere thread of land: water races, gold mining and water law in colonial Victoria, Journal of Australian Colonial History 16:168-187 (with Susan Lawrence).
  • 2013, Flows of water on a 19th-century Australian goldfield. Water History 5(3):331-347 (with Susan Lawrence).
  • 2013, The Garfield Water Wheel: Hydraulic Power on the Victorian Goldfields. Australasian Historical Archaeology31:25-32 (With Susan Lawrence).
  • 2013, Archaeology and Religion at the Hyde Park Barracks Destitute Asylum, Sydney, Historical Archaeology 47 (4):86-102.
  • 2013, Clothing and textiles at the Hyde Park Barracks Destitute Asylum, Sydney, Australia, Post-Medieval Archaeology 47 (1):1-16.
  • 2013, Early Zooarchaeological Evidence for Mus musculus in Australia. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 23 (1):106-111 (with Jillian Garvey).
  • 2012, Learning About Landscape: Archaeology of Water Management in Colonial Victoria, Australian Archaeology 74:47-54 (with Susan Lawrence).
  • 2011, Harvesting Water on a Victorian Colonial Goldfield, Australasian Historical Archaeology 29:24-32.
  • 2011, Destitute women and smoking at the Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney, International Journal of Historical Archaeology 15 (1):82-101.
  • 2010, Women and work at the Hyde Park Barracks Destitute Asylum, Sydney, Australasian Historical Archaeology 28:13-23.
  • 2009, Natives and Newcomers in the Antipodes: Historical Archaeology in Australasia and New Zealand. In T. Majewski and D. Gaimster (eds) International Handbook of Historical Archaeology, Springer, New York, pp. 629-646 (with Susan Lawrence).
  • 2008 French Island Ruins: An archaeology of chicory production in Western Port, Victoria, The Artefact 31:4-13.
  • 2006, Mapping Commodities at Casselden Place, Melbourne, International Journal of Historical Archaeology 10 (4): 343-355.

Older publications


  • 2008, “A lonely, narrow valley”: Teaching at an Otways outpost’, Provenance 7 (http://www.prov.vic.gov.au/provenance).
  • 2005, The Archaeology of Childhood: Toys from Henry’s Mill, The Artefact 28: 15-22 (with Adrienne Ellis).
  • 2005, Writing slates and schooling in Victoria, Australasian Historical Archaeology 23: 63-69
  • 2005, Space and Structure at an Australian forest sawmill, Historical Archaeology 39 (4): 51-64
  • 2003, The Gabo Island Jetty Shed, The Bulletin of the Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology 27: 19-24 (with Susan Lawrence).
  • 2002, Melbourne, in C. E. Orser (ed), Encyclopedia of Historical Archaeology, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 349-50.
  • 2001, A Cure for All Seasons’: Health and Medicine in a Bush Community, Journal of Australia Studies 70:63-72.

Research projects

  • Rivers of Gold: The Legacy of Historical Gold Mining for Victoria's Rivers, ARC Discovery Project beginning in 2016 with A/Prof Susan Lawrence, A/Prof Ian Rutherfurd, Dr Ewen Silvester, Dr Darren Baldwin and Prof Mark Macklin 
  • Cultural Landscapes of Colonial Water Management in Victoria’s Central Highlands (ARC Discovery with Assoc Prof Susan Lawrence) 2011-2015.
  • An Archaeology of Institutional Confinement: the Hyde Park Barracks 1848-1886 (ARC Linkage, with Prof Tim Murray and the Historic Houses Trust of NSW) 2008-2011.