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Keywords:

  • convict;
  • historical archaeology;
  • urban archaeology;
  • emancipist;
  • convict industry

Abstract

The last ten years of archaeological research on convict sites in NSW has seen a wealth of new discoveries thanks to unprecedented access to urban settings as a result of the development boom in the greater Sydney area. Not surprisingly, the direction of research has therefore largely been dictated by the nature of these mitigation projects and consequently favors greater understanding of convict urban landscapes. However, the pressure to complete successive large scale projects, limited funding for post-excavation analysis and interpretation, a growing body of incomplete reports, and the lack of an overall framework for NSW convict archaeological studies has seen an uneven advance in our knowledge of convict life since the last review by Denis Gojak in 2001. This paper reports on some of the main discoveries and describes efforts by academic and professional archaeologists to collaborate and facilitate further convict research in NSW, especially further analysis and syntheses of material, through the Archaeology of Sydney Research Group, the NSW Archaeology Online grey literature project and targeted student research.