Research Plan and Methodology

The core aim of Exploring the Archaeology of the Modern City Sydney 1788-1900 has been to contribute to our understanding of the social history of Sydney. Our basic method was to move through microscale analysis of particular sites and contexts, towards macroscale comparisons between places, be they communities or cities. This is not a linear process. Perspectives gained from comparison may also be applied at the particular level.

Excavated collections of artefacts from sites in the City of Sydney have beenanalysed parallel to archival research into the sites, which is the basic unit of analysis. Our analytical strategies are founded on the creation of relational databases which contain precise information about artefacts and their contexts. Historical data, drawn from registers of births, deaths, marriages, wills, probates, inquests, Post Office Directories, rate books, citizens lists and rolls, electoral rolls and Land Titles make it possible to relate people, the material things they used and discarded, and the places they lived and worked. As the project progresses comparisons between sites and collections will afford larger scale interpretations.