Celebrating National Archaeology Week 2024

For National Archaeology Week 2024, GML's archaeology team will share their insights and expertise at events in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

Sydney Historical Archaeology Practitioners Workshop (SHAP)

On Friday 17 May, 8.30am-4.30pm, Principal Tim Owen will present his paper ‘Sydney Harbour—the Aboriginal cultural landscape’ at this year’s SHAP Workshop at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

The theme of the 2024 SHAP examines how the establishment of the NSW colony was influenced by connections and breaks with the wider world. Arguably the greatest impact, with notable consequences today, was that the place for British colonisation was already occupied. The workshop theme identifies the Australian landscape as a key factor influencing decisions of the colony—but what of the harbour’s Aboriginal cultural landscape?

Sydney Harbour was, and still is, a Deep Time First Nations cultural landscape. It is a landscape which likely saw human occupation 40,000 years before Phillip’s mob arrived. The retention of some written accounts of British interactions with the Aboriginal people prevail, but these generally fail to discuss or describe the cultural Aboriginal landscape. Tim’s paper will provide a short summary of the Deep Time harbour landscape. Connections between known Aboriginal places, and notably significant environmental change over time, will be discussed. A new context for examining the harbour, and its creation will be provided.

For more information on SHAP 2024 and to register visit their website.

Bricks, Bottles and Bones: Historical Archaeology at the Parramatta Metro Site

On Wednesday 22 May, 6.00pm-7.30pm, Principal and A/Head of Archaeology Abi Cryerhall will present a talk for the Royal Australian Historical Society on ‘Bricks, Bottles and Bones: Historical Archaeology at the Parramatta Metro Site’.

Archaeological excavation at the new Parramatta metro station site commenced in 2022 and is being undertaken in stages through to the end of 2025. Comprising almost an entire city block in the heart of the CBD, the excavations so far have revealed evidence of environmental change, significant Aboriginal archaeology including contact-period artefacts, two convict huts, multiple phases of 19th-century domestic occupation, and local manufacturers and businesses. Post-excavation analysis is in its early stages and this talk will explore some of the preliminary findings and artefacts from the site.

The talk will be held at History House on Macquarie Street in Sydney. For more information and to register visit the Royal Australian Historical Society website.

Objects unearthed at the Parramatta Metro Station site.

Women in Archaeology – A Panel Discussion

On Friday 24 May, 3.00pm-5.00pm, Abi Cryerhall will join a panel of female leaders from across the archaeology industry for a discussion about their careers, career pathways for aspiring archaeologists and the future direction of the archaeology industry in NSW.

Moderated by Renée Regal of Regal Heritage, other guest speakers joining Abi include Dr Caitlin Allen, Heritage Consultant and Sessional Lecturer at The University of Sydney, Aara Welz of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council and Georgia Wright, Senior Heritage Advisor at Sydney Metro, among others.

The panel event will be held at the Chau Chak Wing Museum. For more information and to register visit The University of Sydney website.

Archaeologist Abi Cryerhall on site at the Parramatta Metro station.

Planning Congress 2024

GML’s Head of Victoria Edwina Jans and Archaeology Team Leader Leah Tepper will present at the Planning Institute of Australia’s Planning Congress in Melbourne/Naarm, 22-24 May. Their paper will focus on ‘Understanding and applying Aboriginal cultural heritage legislations and protocols’.

This practical session will present the intersection of Victorian Aboriginal heritage legislation and planning law and practice as a case study for planners working on Country with Traditional Owners. Worked examples and practical tips on assessing the requirements for undertaking cultural heritage assessments and community consultation will be provided and discussed, touching on Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property principles and best practice.

Participants will gain knowledge of the various key pieces of legislation, what they mean and how to meaningfully apply it in a real-world context to re-imagine how we engage with Country in planning sustainable, resilient communities in harmony with their environment.

For further information on the Planning Congress and to register visit their website.

Archaeologist Leah Tepper on site at Nerre Nerre Warren, Dandenong Police Paddocks.

Symposium: Backyard Archaeology 

On Saturday 25 May, 12.30pm-3.30pm, Principal Martin Rowney will present at a symposium at the Canberra Museum + Gallery held in conjunction with the current exhibition, Backyard Archaeology. The symposium aims to show how backyard studies can reveal and inspire stories of everyday life through found and excavated objects and nurtured gardens.

Martin’s presentation will focus on the humble red brick. Canberra Reds, the building blocks of early Canberra, can be found in the corners of backyards across the ACT and surrounds. They touch Canberra society at all levels—propping up the facades of public buildings, forming the fabric of local houses and edging garden beds. Recent archaeology has found the ‘lost’ first phase of kilns from the Canberra Brickworks in Yarralumla, and they tell a tale of experimentation. Those kilns built the Brickworks and their products ended up in almost everyone’s backyard.

The Symposium is supported by the Canberra Museum + Gallery, University of Canberra ‘Everyday Heritage Project’ and Australian Archaeological Association. For more information and to register visit the Everyday Heritage website.

‘Canberra Red’ bricks unearthed at a site in the ACT.

National Archaeology Week runs from 19 to 25 May with events taking place across the country.