Archaeology of the Modern City

This project links two of the least fashionable archaeological endeavours (archival research and the intensive analysis of excavated assemblages) to address two fundamental deficiencies in the management and interpretation of the archaeology of 19th century Sydney and Melbourne: the absence of an efficient and transparent means of managing archaeological sites and relics in the Central Activities Districts (CADs) of both cities, and the existence of vast archaeological collections which have hitherto played little or no part in writing the social histories of such important places.

Addressing these deficiencies has not required new sites to be dug. The collaborative project has made a substantial contribution to the progress of historical archaeology in Australia, while at the same time assisting government heritage agencies to more effectively establish the nature and significance of the materials and places they are charged to conserve and protect.

Of equal importance is the fact that state-of-the-art systems of analysis and interpretation, previously developed in two ground-breaking projects (one funded by the ARC and the other developed by project collaborator Godden Mackay Logan) were applied to the vital task of explaining the historical importance of those places and collections to all stakeholders - developers, museum curators, heritage consultants and, of course, the citizens of and visitors to Sydney and Melbourne. Significantly these new systems of analysis and interpretation will also underwrite a long-awaited revision of the archaeological management plans for the CADs of both cities. This revision forms a central aspect of the work of Managing the Archaeology of Central Sydney and Melbourne 1788-1900 documentation completed by Dr. Nadia Iacono in 2005.

Aims, Objectives, and Outcomes

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Research Plan and Methodology

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Industry Partners

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Useful references

Texts and articles used during the project.


Site reports, database guides, and project publications.


Use the EAMC Database and the People+Place databases, with hundreds of archaeological records.

Project Staff

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