Original post by CHNT Conference Organisers

The 22nd International Conference on Cultural Heritage and New Technologies (CHNT 2017) will take place at the City Hall of Vienna, Austria from 8-10 November 2017.

The main topic of this year:Urban Archaeology and Integration – Combining archaeology, history, and new technologies.

The aim of this conference is to enhance the collaboration between historians and archaeologists and related disciplines using new technologies and to showcase best practice applications in multidisciplinary research. The conference organizers invite sessions dealing with one of the following topics or a combination thereof:

Application of effective 3D-methods for the reconstruction of buildings, integrating archaeological excavation data with historical sources including images, thus increasing our understanding of the past

Additional digital methods for the combined visualisation of archaeological and historical data (e.g. monitoring changes and preservation of archaeological monuments based on historical images)

Application of new technologies to assess the archaeological record based on historical data (maps, tax returns, inventories, ship wreck lists, etc.) and/or combining historical sources and archaeological data in a geographical information system for recording the history of urban or rural landscapes

Games, apps, and teaching software integrating archaeological and historical knowledge

Historical data as a basis for checking or validating digital tools applied in archaeology and vice versa

Dealing with inscriptions (including cuneiform, hieroglyphs and symbols): digital methods for enhancing readability (e.g. Reflectance Transformation Imaging), pattern recognition of letters or pictograms, comparison of hand writing (same author?)

Statistical analysis investigating the correlation between historical place names and archaeological evidence

Submissions of Proposals for Sessions, Round Tables and Advanced Archaeological Trainings are due by 30 January 2017. For information on how to submit a proposal, visit the call for sessionswebpage.

Original post by Mary Casey

Members may be interested to note that membership applications for the Australian Capital Territory's Heritage Council are now open. For more information please follow the link below:

ASHA logo
ASHA logo

Following the 2016 ASHA conference in New Zealand, a new committee has been elected. ASHA wishes to thank the outgoing committee for their dedication, and welcomes new members to the committee.

For details of committee members and roles, please see the "Committee" page at:     

ASHA logo
ASHA logo

The 2016 Annual General Meeting of the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology will be held on:
Friday, 30 September 2016 at 4:00 pm

in the Camelot Room, Chateau on the Park,
189 Deans Avenue,

Committee Nominations

Nominations for the 2016-2017 ASHA Committee are now open. The election of the 2016-17 ASHA Committee will be conducted during the Annual General Meeting. Nominations will close at 5.00pm (AEST) Friday 26 August 2016.

To nominate for a committee position, download a nomination form here and send it to the ASHA Returning Officer (address on the form). Further information on the committee roles is available here.

Each member is entitled to appoint another member as proxy by notice given to the Secretary not less than 24 hours before the time for holding of the meeting. You can download a proxy form here.

Return the form to the ASHA Secretary by mail on or before 5pm, Friday 23 September, or forms may be delivered in person to Caitlin D'Gluyas by your appointed Proxy at the conference no later than 12.30 pm, Friday 30 September 2016.

View of ‘Temperance Lodge’ (HCWA3729) from Company Road (Photo: Hetherington, February 2015).
Gray’s Store (HCWA1153) following restoration by National Trust and Palassis Architects in 1977 (Photo: Hetherington, February 2015)
Melissa Hetherington

Through the Eyes of Henry Gray: Investigating the influence of the Temperance Movement and Wesleyan Methodism on the Greenough Flats, Western Australia, 1839 – 1900

A new research project has just begun on the historic settlement on the Greenough Flats, which are situated approximately 400km north of Perth, and 25km south of Geraldton, Western Australia.

In Western Australia, a recommendation for the establishment of a temperance society in King George Sound (Albany) was put forward as early as 1833, on the basis that ‘temperance societies have been found to be highly beneficial by discouraging the use of ardent spirits’ (The Perth Gazette, 19th October 1833, p.167-8). Temperance advocates were aiming to combat numerous issues in the colony, such as increases in crime rates and illness, which were linked to drunkenness. Temperance advocates with religious motivations also tended to focus on making the connection between immorality and drunkenness. In this way, motivations behind the temperance movement were multi-layered.
This research aims to explore the nature of the temperance movement in Western Australia by examining social issues related to drunkenness and the motivations that lay behind the establishment of temperance and teetotaller societies in Western Australia. This research will also explore the ways in which the temperance movement influenced secular and religious organisations and commercial enterprise in the Western Australian colony by examining what motivated individuals to establish a lodge of the Independent Order of Good Templars (I.O.G.T.) in Perth and the Midwest (Geraldton & Greenough), what motivated settlers to join the movement, and whether members of the I.O.G.T. achieved the outcomes they set out to achieve. Particular focus will be given to Charles Watson Gray, who established the I.O.G.T. in Western Australia, and Charles’ father, Henry Gray, who established a network of general stores (H. Gray & Co.) in Greenough & Geraldton, and whose personal and commercial interests were influenced by his support for and involvement with the I.O.G.T.

Beginning in November 2015, archaeological investigations will be conducted at Henry Gray’s general store and the Temperance Lodge, which are two National Trust properties located along Company Road, on the Greenough Flats. This research has been initiated through collaboration with the National Trust (NTWA), which manages 19 historic places on the Greenough Flats. The NTWA wish to gain a greater understanding of the heritage places in Western Australia that have come into their custodianship.

Gray’s Store (HCWA1153) following restoration by National Trust and Palassis Architects in 1977 (Photo: Hetherington, February 2015) Gray’s Store (HCWA1153) following restoration by National Trust and Palassis Architects in 1977 (Photo: Hetherington, February 2015).

View of ‘Temperance Lodge’ (HCWA3729) from Company Road (Photo: Hetherington, February 2015). View of ‘Temperance Lodge’ (HCWA3729) from Company Road (Photo: Hetherington, February 2015).

Facebook has also been used to connect and communicate with local residents, which has made it possible to connect with the wider community, including descendants of the settlers on the Greenough Flats. Descendants of Henry Gray and William Moore have already contributed photographs and documents from private collections, which have been of vital importance to understanding the history of Gray’s Store. Many of those who already take an interest in the history of the Greenough Flats settlement are familiar with the Pioneer Museum and Gardens in Greenough. Therefore, the project has been advertised through the museum’s Facebook page, to raise awareness about the upcoming fieldwork in Greenough, to spark further community interest and participation in this research.

Advertising the project on the Greenough Museum and Gardens Facebook page.
Advertising the project on the Greenough Museum and Gardens Facebook page.

If you are interested in volunteering for the excavations in 2016, or wish to gain experience in historical archaeology, send an email to Melissa at:

This blog first appeared in the ASHA Newsletter 2015, vol 45, no 3, pp 10-12.

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Excavating a colonial-era Melanesian village site, south Tanna Island. (Courtesy of J. Flexner)
Excavating a colonial-era Melanesian village site, south Tanna Island. (Courtesy of J. Flexner)
Penny Crook

Historical archaeologists have been awarded three Discovery projects in the recently announced round of ARC-funding. The projects reflect the diversity of historical-archaeological research in the Australasian region, ranging from the archaeological vestiges of the Queensland Native Mounted Police, to the mining landscapes of regional Victoria and the Christian missionaries of Vanuatu. Details of each project are below.

The investment of over $1.73 million over 4 years demonstrates the competitiveness of, and interest in, historical archaeological research on the national stage.

We congratulate the chief investigators, Associate Professor Heather Burke, Associate Professor Susan Lawrence and Dr James Flexner, and all their locall and international collaborators, and wish them every success in their research.


Associate Professor Heather Burke, Professor Bryce Barker, Professor Iain Davidson, Dr Lynley Wallis, Dr Noelene Cole, Ms Elizabeth Hatte and Dr Larry Zimmerman
The Flinders University of South Australia
$765,727, 4 years

This project plans to conduct a systematic archaeological study of the Queensland Native Mounted Police. While previous studies have focused on policing activities as revealed by the historical record, this project will combine material, oral and historical evidence from a range of sites across central and northern Queensland to understand more fully the activities, lives and legacies of the Native Police. This project aims to provide an alternative lens through which to understand the nature of frontier conflict, initiate new understandings of the Aboriginal and settler experience, and contribute to global studies of Indigenous responses to colonialism.

Associate Professor Susan Lawrence, Associate Professor Ian Rutherfurd, Dr Ewen Silvester, Dr Darren Baldwin, Professor Mark Macklin, Dr Peter Davies and Ms Jodi Turnbull
La Trobe University
$650,187, 4 years

By considering rivers as cultural artefacts, this project aims to evaluate how historical gold mining has shaped river systems in Victoria. Victoria’s historic mining industry led to extensive and long-lasting change to waterways across the state. The project plans to integrate approaches from landscape archaeology, physical geography, geomorphology and environmental chemistry to identify and map the extent of changes, including increased sedimentation, erosion, and chemical contamination. The project plans to demonstrate how historical mining continues to influence chemical and physical processes in Victorian streams and to develop understanding of the landscapes experienced by Victorians at the height of the mining boom. Project outcomes may provide improved context for catchment and reservoir management and counter prevailing impressions about causes of observed damage to rivers.

Dr James Flexner, Dr Stuart Bedford and Dr Frederique Valentin
The Australian National University

This project aims to conduct an archaeological survey of Vanuatu. One of archaeology's most significant contributions is providing models for the emergence of cultural diversity through time. Vanuatu is one of the most diverse regions on Earth. The southern islands were an important hub in early settlement and long-term inter-island interactions of Island Melanesia. Yet little is known about the origins of cultural contacts and diversity in the area. A major archaeological survey of the Polynesian outliers Futuna and Aniwa and neighbouring islands Tanna and Aneityum would greatly improve our knowledge of settlement patterns, long-distance exchange, and cross-cultural interaction in the region, from initial Lapita settlement 3000 years ago through to the arrival of Christian missionaries in the 1860s.

The project will include archaeological survey and excavation as well as a survey of 19th and early 20th century museum collections, particularly looking at examples of stone and shell exchange valuables from Futuna, Aniwa, Aneityum, Tanna. These objects may provide evidence about connections to neighbouring island groups, including New Caledonia, Fiji, and possibly Western Polynesia.

Adze Blades from Southern Vanuatu, Geddie/Robertson Collection, Nova Scotia Museum (Courtesy of J. Flexner)
Adze Blades from Southern Vanuatu, Geddie/Robertson Collection, Nova Scotia. Museum (Courtesy of J. Flexner)



ARC Selection Report (Discovery Projects)

ARC Funding Announcements (Discovery Projects)


Corinne Softley & Nicholas Pitt

We are delighted to share with you the newly designed ASHA website, with a bold new look and enhanced navigation experience. With a focus on simplicity, the website aims to provide a more informative experience, through improved research functions, current news and members-area privileges. We invite you to start exploring!

ASHA has had a website since 1995. The first ASHA website was hosted by the University of Sydney. In 2002 the ASHA website moved to its present address: It was then just a few html pages.

In 2009 we launched a new website with a shop for membership and book sales, and we made available the archive of our journal. All but the last five years were free to download; the more recent issues were for members only. At the time, the website was welcomed by members and admired by other societies, but it more recently has been dogged by technical issues. In 2014 we started planning for an all new site to improve access to this rich archive and help the society make new information available.

The original announcement of the first ASHA website in volume 25:4 (1995) the ASHA Newsletter.

The new website layout has been streamlined to give you quick access to the items you are looking for. Most importantly, we have consolidated and organised information on the society, resources (journal, newsletter and publications) and upcoming events.

So what’s new?

  • Improved membership management, order-tracking and login.
  • Clear, user-friendly navigation.
  • The ASHA blog: a new platform for short articles and highlights from the newletter Digital delivery of the newsletter and improved delivery of current news, events and general updates Device compatibility: the website is now compatible with tablet and mobile devices.
  • New logo: One of the most noticeable changes on our new site is the new logo. A shortlist of logo designed was circulated among ASHA members at the end of 2014. Members voted on their favourite, with the most popular logo chosen as the official ASHA logo.
  • Integration of multimedia such as video and image libraries.
  • Integration with social media platforms

We will be rolling out new pages, resources and functions over the coming months, and hope that you enjoy visiting our new website. However, due to the significant changes in the website architecture, we know there may be digital hiccups and you may experience virtual roadblocks along the way. This is where we need your help!

Please email if you are experiencing any issues with the website or feel that an aspect of the website should be reviewed or enhanced. We will do our best to perfect your browsing experience.

Going forward, we aim to continually expand our online content and keep you updated with the latest information on Historical Archaeology in Australia and New Zealand. So check back often, and connect with us on your social network through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus.

You can explore the past versions of the website through the Internet Archive’s historic snapshots:

Jane Rooke

Another successful Artefacts Workshop was held in April this year, hosted by Casey & Lowe in Leichhardt, Sydney. This was the second such event, following a similar workshop held last November.

With record attendance and guest speakers bringing a multitude of skills to the table, all had a busy and informative weekend.

After a quick coffee, the morning started with Jeanne Harris, from Urban Analysts, delivering the first of her two PowerPoint presentations. She started the day with glass, expanding on our understanding of bottles, lamp glass and tableware. She focused on the diagnostic components of the items, taking us chronologically through their development of manufacture, allowing us to understand the features and so enabling us to identify them for a more precise dating range. This was then put to practice as we made our way to the courtyard for a show and tell. We were each given the opportunity to examine a bottle or piece of glassware and work through the diagnostic evidence to identify the piece before presenting it to the rest of the audience. Although the risk of making a wrong identification was a little daunting, under Jeanne’s expert guidance everyone did very well.

After morning tea, which boasted some great Portuguese tarts and chocolate brownies, we settled in for the next session.

Dr Melanie Fillios specialises in the analysis of archaeological faunal remains, and her passion is inspiring. After a chat about why we should analyse bones and what they can tell us, Melanie moved on to talk about teeth. She explained the distinct patterns of different animal’s teeth, their wear stages and how to distinguish between members of the same genus. ASHA and the presenters put together a booklet summarising the presentations. As part of Melanie’s contribution she provided us with a comprehensive decision making process on femurs and tibias. Working in groups, we were able to put this and our skills to the test with a selection of bones made available for us. We looked at cows, sheep, pig and kangaroo as well as examining the jaws of marsupials and sheep.

Robyn Stocks (centre) shows workshop participants various miscellaneous artefacts

After lunch, Jeanne Harris returned to the presenters chair to talk about ceramics. Introducing the three basic categories of ceramic artefacts led Jeanne into a discussion on common ceramic types and their decorative techniques. Years of experience in cataloguing, analysing and reporting on artefacts has given Jeanne an extensive knowledge base, which she is only to keen to pass on. This was a great way to end the first day.

The next morning all were keen and ready to start the next session. First up was Robyn Stocks, archaeologist and artefact expert, covering one of her passions, miscellaneous artefacts, also known as small or special finds. These items can give detailed information about the status and behaviours of the people who lost or discarded them. They are often products of technological innovation or individual skill. Over the years of working as a professional archaeologist, Robyn has analysed and reported on artefacts from many sites in and around Sydney. By splitting the artefacts into the main types found: buttons, sewing paraphernalia, beads, pipes, leather shoes and toys, to name a few, she presented an overview of artefact types that are found and the best ways of classifying, cataloguing, analysing and reporting them. To close the session we were given the chance to hold and look at some of the small finds that Casey & Lowe are currently holding in their lab and to look for the distinguishing features Robyn had just discussed.

Some of the participants had travelled a fair distance to attend this workshop, coming from various places including Melbourne and Queensland. Morning tea was a great opportunity to catch up on what is happening in the world of archaeology in and around their neck of the woods.

After the break, Robyn continued with a new presentation on metals. Nails were Robyn’s first topic. These small items are often found on sites, but can also be very frustrating to catalogue. Robyn showed us how to classify nails by looking at different forms of manufacture and their typology. She then moved on to tools, hardware and items related to horses. The excavation by Casey & Lowe at Barangaroo South had revealed many metal artefacts relation to waterfront industries and shipping and these were discussed before Robyn presented her final topic of early building materials. Sydney, Parramatta and the Greater Sydney region used similar ways to produce building materials during the 19th century. However, Robyn revealed their different characteristics to help distinguish between them. We then had the opportunity to look at the collection of sandstock bricks and pavers from brick kilns recently recorded by Casey & Lowe at the former ADI site at St Marys. We also saw some tiles and other building materials from Macquarie Street, part of the early settlement area of Parramatta.

After lunch, this topic was continued with Dr Iain Stuart concluding the workshop with his presentation on a later stage of building materials. Iain has extensive experience working both in Government and private consultancy in NSW and Victoria. Iain got us on our feet and we toured the immediate area looking at different styles of building and the methods and materials used. Iain’s presentation encouraged us to recognise the role of building materials as an important aspect of an archaeological assemblage and their potential to provide information on the nature and the sequence of the building and its construction, as well as the economic and social position of the occupants. He focused on the structural materials such as timber, stone, cement and iron, as well as including nails, bolts and other forms of fastenings.

The workshop was a great success. It was great to see so many archaeologists get together to gain a further understanding of the items that keep us busy on so many different levels. The ASHA Committee hopes that similar workshops can be organised in the future, not only in Sydney but also interstate.

Robyn Stocks (far right) shows participants several artefacts from Barangaroo South

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Tristan Bergin

In mid-2014, Waru Consulting volunteered to undertake a heritage assessment of Gnowangerup’s old police station. Gnowangerup is a quiet rural town situated approximately 300km southeast of Perth and 50km north of the Stirling Ranges.

The century old police station is a problem for the local Shire. Recently, vandals broke some of the asbestos fibre walls creating a public health concern and, without a listing on the WA State Heritage Register, public funding for conservation works is hard to obtain. Understandably, demolition of the old police station looms as a potential solution for the Shire, with only the few members of Gnowangerup’s historical society to oppose the idea.

The heritage value of a place can be determined in many ways. It seems, however, that technical attributes often outweigh other qualities such as individual stories, both historical and contemporary. It is other people’s stories that help us make sense of our community and our lives, and surely that is one of the main roles of heritage. Our proposal was to involve the community by undertaking test excavations that would be open to the public as well as ran an engagement campaign on Facebook.

The Facebook page was set up several weeks prior to the excavation and generated a significant amount of interest from the Gnowangerup community as well as national and international interest. We were able to use the collective knowledge of the people who had engaged us on social media as a research tool. For example, it was a hotel manager from Perth who helped us decipher one of the oldest examples of graffiti on the jarrah lined gaol cells. Others provided opinions on the provenance of a railway sleeper found at the bottom of one of the test pits. We also found that someone has used the page as a forum to vent frustration at the previous demolition of another heritage building in Gnowangerup. The population of the Facebook page also allowed us to promote Gnowangerup’s newly opened and brilliant Noongar museum. As a result we saw an increased number of visits to the page, including many from the Indigenous community.

The response to the public invitation to participate in the excavations was overwhelming. Over the course of three days, more than 150 primary and secondary students from three local schools visited the site in addition to numerous visits from members of the wider community. The students were given a brief introduction to the history of the police station while checking out the gaol cells and exercise yard. From primary historical documents they learnt about how in 1911 Inspector Lappin visited Gnowangerup and reported to the Commissioner on the need for an immediate and permanent police presence at Gnowangerup because of the construction workers building the rail line between Tambellup and Ongerup. Lappin reported that there are, “Complaints of fighting, bad language and two-up schools” and that “the residents are unanimous in requesting police protection”.

The students also heard about Constable Jeremiah John Jones who was stationed at Gnowangerup between 1915 and 1924. He was the son of Ann Jones, and Jeremiah was seven years old in 1880 when the Kelly Gang laid siege to his mother’s establishment, the Glenrowan Inn.

After the historical introduction the students participated in numerous activities including excavating a disused garden bed seeded with ‘artefacts’ and undertaking a transect survey. After some training the luckier students also joined the Waru archaeologists in excavating the three 1m x 1m test puts situated in close proximity to the existing buildings and areas likely to yield subsurface archaeological material. The kids were all remarkably enthusiastic and did everything from checking the spit levels on the dumpy to digging, running buckets and helping sieve the material.

Over the course of three days, hundreds of pieces of cultural material were retrieved from the 3 test pits. In many ways, however, what was actually found is less important in assessing the significance of the old police station than the incredible interaction the public had with the project. We heard from one of the teachers who said that the majority of the kids who had participated in the excavations went home to their parents and proudly proclaimed their desire to become archaeologists. In an attempt to bolster that enthusiasm we ran a creative writing competition and received many great entries from a number of students who were clearly inspired, not only by the archaeology, but also by the numerous historical sources we had collated including sources that had been provided by the local community.

The reaction that the students had when touring the site also reminded us that part of the heritage significance of the police station comes from its decrepitude. The flaking paint and rusting tin of the exercise yard, the cobwebs, rotting timbers and the gloomy jarrah lined cells covered in prisoners’ graffiti all contribute to an eerie and grungy atmosphere. It is an alien environment that gets the imagination firing and builds a certain level of empathy with those unknown people who were locked up there. This empathy was reflected in many of the short stories, with most students taking on the first person perspective of a prisoner.

Our project at Gnowangerup’s old police station shows that a high level of community engagement is not only helpful in resourcing information, but also allows people of all ages to learn and engage with their own local heritage. It also shows that in assessing the heritage significance of a place we should consider what impact it has on people on an emotional and creative level. Furthermore, we should also think carefully about what we lose when restoration works are undertaken on old buildings in the process of deterioration.

Special thanks go to all the staff at Waru Consulting, as well as staff from the Shire of Gnowangerup who were vital in organising the school groups and allowing the project to proceed in the first place.

For further information see the Digging Up Gnowangeraup’s History Facebook Page or email Tristan Bergin on

Students listening attentively to a historical introduction to the site.

Example of the graffiti on site

Students getting involved in the excavation process

This blog first appeared in the ASHA Newsletter 2015, vol 45, no 1, pp 7-10.

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Pamela Kottaras & Rebecca Newell

EMGA Mitchell McLennan Pty Ltd (EMM) was engaged by Baulderstone Pty Ltd, on behalf of Transport for NSW (TfNSW), to complete heritage services for the early works package of the Sydney Metro Northwest, formerly known as North West Rail Link ), including an archaeological assessment and excavations. Five possible archaeological sites were identified in the European heritage assessment for the environmental impact statement (GML 2012) as requiring investigation to guide the appropriate level of management.

EMM, with the assistance of Comber Consultants Pty Ltd, completed the archaeological investigations of the five sites, with the most substantial and intact site being that of the former White Hart Inn. The inn, also referred to as the Swan Inn in some documents, was identified as a ruin and archaeological site as early as the 1930s. Research completed as part of the archaeological assessment for the early works identified that the inn was built for William Cox Esq by the convict builder James Gough. It operated from the late 1820s to the 1860s with a number of different publicans, including one woman, Sarah Tighe, who later married the publican at the Royal Oak (now the Mean Fiddler).

The excavation uncovered the footings of a building approximately 20m wide and 15m across, a separate building to the rear approximately 13m long and 5m wide, and a cistern with a diameter of 2.5m.

The surviving architecture of the main inn building confirms that it was configured as a typical colonial inn, oriented to face Windsor Road to the west. A long verandah faced Windsor Road, flanked by smaller rooms, or wing-rooms. A large room with fireplace is directly behind the verandah. Smaller rooms, defined by brick footings, emerged along the southern side of the building and possibly along the back of the building to the east.

The footings of the main inn building were constructed of sandstone built 0.80m into the ground. The robustness of the footings supports descriptions of the building being two-storey and made of sandstone and brick. Sandstock brick footings may represent a second phase of construction in the main inn building. The excavation revealed that the southern wing room was demolished and another room, with brick footings, was added to the south, extending the length of the verandah but keeping the symmetry of the facade. The original soil profile survived in places beneath the main inn building, and yielded Aboriginal artefacts.

A sub-surface room was partially excavated and is likely to be a cellar or cool room. This space is approximately 1 x 1.3m and has been excavated to approximately 1m in depth to a mixed, redeposited layer. On its western side, the cellar is defined by a slanting wall of large sandstone blocks set perpendicular to the sandstone footings of the main building. The walls/footings to the north and east are composed of sandstock brick. The extent of excavation in the cellar was minor, removing largely loose deposit filled with collapsed brick and iron fragments. Further investigation would be required to better understand the function of what is currently referred to as the cellar.

A detached room at the north east corner of the main building is considered to be a kitchen, 13m long by 5m wide, strongly suggested by the large fireplace base on the eastern end, a smaller fireplace base on the western end, as well as by virtue of its separation from the main part of the inn. The footings of this building were also of sandstone but differed from those in the main inn building in their construction. While those in the main inn building were made of roughly hewn blocks of sandstone approximately 0.8 x 0.4 x 0.2m, the footings in the detached room are smaller sandstone fragments put together by what resembles dry-stone wall technique. One of the questions raised by the footings is if it represents a second phase of construction at the inn, does that suggest an expansion of the commercial enterprise?

The final feature uncovered on the site was a remnant sandstock brick cistern approximately 2.5m in diameter. This feature was excavated to approximately 0.3m to reveal that it was constructed of sandstock bricks, bonded with lime mortar, with the bricks slanting in to the centre indicating that it would have had a domed roof. The spherical shape of the cistern was supported on the outside by compact shale packing.

The excavation found that when demolished, the walls of buildings and structures were crushed into rubble and spread across the ground, effectively creating a sealed lid over the site. The imprint of only one timber fragment was recorded; it is possible that many of the useable materials were removed and re-used elsewhere as very little building material was found, with the exception of sandstone and brick footings. It is understood that one of the mounting stones was collected a number of years ago and incorporated into a property in the locality.

The focus of the excavation was to confirm the existence of relics and the condition of the archaeological site, which was realised. Preliminary assessment of the excavation indicates that the site is of State significance as it represents the expansion of the colony to the north-west and the importance of the road to Windsor. It is also one of the few surviving archaeological sites of its kind. Project approval allowed salvage of the site after consultation on a methodology with the Heritage Division; however, a combination of factors resulted in TfNSW deciding to conserve the site, necessitating a re-design of piers and the construction method of the Sydney Metro Northwest.

The archaeological excavation program finished with the opening of the site to the public for one weekend. Community interest was high and despite some difficult weather on the Sunday, the chance to view the excavation was well received. The excavation report is scheduled to be completed in 2015 and in the meantime the artefacts recovered from the site are being analysed. Due to the significance of the archaeological relics the site will be conserved and an interpretation strategy will be developed.

Plate 1: The northern “wing” at the front of the building. The building faced west, which is left in the photograph. View to the north, north-west.

Plate 2: (above) View along the front of the building with what is probably the second-phase wing room on brick footings in the foreground. The original south wing on sandstone footings beside it that was incorporated into the verandah further along and the north wing in the background. View to the north, north-west.

Plate 3: View into the sub-surface room that has been described as the entry into the cellar. Note the slanting sandstone blocks to the left; there is another sandstone block emerging from the deposit that was not excavated. The wall directly above them (and under the north arrow) is possibly an outside wall and is shown in context in Plate 2. View to the north-west.

Plate 4: This feature has been identified as representing a detached kitchen supported by the fireplace base at its eastern extent (front) represented by the flagstones behind the range poles, and another fireplace base at the eastern end. Compare the structure of the footings in this building with those in the main inn building shown in the other photographs. View to the west.

Plate 5: The cistern located at the rear of the inn building. The cistern is approximately 2.5m in diameter and is constructed of sandstock bricks with a crushed shale packing around the outside perimeter. View to the north-east.

First appeared in the ASHA Newsletter 2014, vol 44, no 2&3, pp 14-17

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