Get your hands dirty at Port Arthur this summer

January 12, 2007

12/01/2007

Visitors to the Port Arthur Historic Site have the opportunity to get their hands dirty and enjoy a first-hand experience of archaeology during the summer, as part of celebrations of 30 years of archaeology.

During January, Port Arthur’s intrepid archaeologists and a committed band of volunteers are venturing into the trenches to explore Port Arthur’s past.

The excavation is in a highly-visible area of the historic site. Visitors are encouraged to stop, observe, ask questions and even have a go with the trowel for themselves.

Archaeology manager Greg Jackman says this season’s investigation will focus on the Commissariat Officer’s quarters on Settlement Hill.

“We hope that the excavation will shed light not only on the evolution of the house and state of preservation of its remains, but also the lives of the settlement’s civil officers and their families who lived there”, he said.

The public excavation is open from Tuesday to Sunday until January 26 between 11.15am and 12.45pm. Fascinating trench-side talks are being offered on these days at 1.45pm.

This year also marks a milestone for conservation at Port Arthur, being the 30th anniversary of archaeology at the site.

A special exhibition showcasing major archaeology projects over the past 30 years has been created for anniversary celebrations. It is being held in the former Policeman’s Residence on the site.

Greg said Port Arthur has been at the forefront of developments in Australian historical archaeology for 30 years.

“It has been a training ground for hundreds of volunteers, many of whom have gone on to careers in cultural heritage management in Australia and overseas,” he said.

These activities are included in the general admission ticket to the Port Arthur Historic Site.

Artefacts from the site

Artefacts from the site

Assistant Archaeologist Richard Tuffin excavates the site with a young helper

Assistant Archaeologist Richard Tuffin excavates the site with a young helper

Volunteer Damian Eagan sieves soil some excavated soil

Volunteer Damian Eagan sieves soil some excavated soil

The Summer Archaeology Program site for this year on Settlement Hill

The Summer Archaeology Program site for this year on Settlement Hill

Richard Tuffin giving a public 'Trenchside Talk' about archaeology at Port Arthur

Richard Tuffin giving a public ‘Trenchside Talk’ about archaeology at Port Arthur