Fascinating discoveries in Port Arthur’s public archaeology program

February 16, 2010

The Port Arthur Historic Site’s annual summer archaeological dig has just concluded, with some exciting results. The team delved into the Carnarvon-era rubbish deposit and came up with a great array of material. Watch out for the Port Arthur talk in May where PAHSAMA Conservation Project Officer, Annita Waghorn, will be be reporting on what we found. One of the highlights was finding among the Carnarvon rubbish, four cells door locks identical to those used in the Separate Prison.

The archaeologists also made it down to the original beach levels of Mason Cove before it was reclaimed in the 1850’s – almost 2m below the oval. They uncovered some really great evidence of how the sawpits were built. PAHSMA’s team are going to do a little bit more digging on the trenches in late February, so if you didn’t have a chance to see them, come down and have a look.

The responses to the public archaeology activities were absolutely great. Lots of kids and parents had a wonderful time digging and screening, and learning about archaeology. The team reported that they had quite a few families who had come to the program last year who returned especially to see how the dig was progressing. The enthusiasm and interest of the kids while they are digging is always a highlight of the program. The volunteer crew were wonderful this year, and their work and enthusiasm played a big role in making the public activities such as success.

The archaeology team at work in the trench at Port Arthur

The archaeology team at work in the trench at Port Arthur