Late last year, the ‘BIG DIG’ Archaeology Education Centre, at the Sydney Harbour YHA, in Sydney’s historic Rocks precinct, welcomed its 50,000th school student!
Developed as part of the Sydney Harbour YHA, the BIG DIG site was archaeologically excavated in 1994 (and progressively since), revealing an extraordinary physical record of one of Australia’s earliest colonial settlements.
The adaptation and development of the site enabled in situ conservation and interpretation of extensive foundations and other remains associated with the community which lived here for more than a century following the first arrival of Europeans settlers.
The site is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register, and is noteworthy as:
one of few surviving places in The Rocks where a substantial physical connection exists to the time of first settlement, including the huts and scattered houses built on and carved into the sandstone outcrops that gave The Rocks its name
The ‘BIG DIG Archaeology Education Centre’ has proven an outstanding success. Built as separate structure, straddling archaeological features below, the centre includes classrooms, school facilities, a ‘mock’ archaeological dig and viewing area. There are a range of different school programs for both primary and secondary students, some of whom make use of the site-specific education kit, excavation reports, published works and real artefacts as part of their program. Read more:
(Photos: Ted Sealey, provided by Sydney Harbour YHA)