Port Adelaide Community Archaeology (PACA) Research Project

The South Australian Maritime Museum is supporting the Port Adelaide Community Archaeology (PACA) Project in partnership with Flinders University.

Focusing on Port Adelaide’s rich historical and maritime heritage, this research has examined the interaction of different cultural heritage stakeholders, including the local community, government, property developers, heritage professionals and the wider public. This examination has focused on identifying the beliefs and attitudes of those stakeholders towards archaeology, cultural heritage management and development in Port Adelaide. Throughout the project, PhD candidate Adam Paterson has worked collaboratively with stakeholder groups to develop projects that address the needs of archaeologists as well as their stakeholders.

A priority for this research has also been to provide opportunities for adults and children to experience Port Adelaide’s archaeology first hand. Where this aim coincided with the priorities of collaborating organisations including the South Australian Maritime Museum, it was possible to develop some exciting projects. The most dramatic was an excavation inside the Maritime Museum display building, known as the ‘Bond Store’. During the 19th century the building was used to store goods transported to the colony by ships and although it appears as one space now, it was actually constructed in stages.

The aim of the excavation was to learn more about the construction of the buildings and to recover any buried artefacts associated with their past use. Tours of the excavation site were provided to schools and members of the public and volunteers were able to join the ‘dig team’ to help the archaeologists excavate and record the site. The excavation was a success: champagne bottles, tobacco pipes and roofing slates discarded by builders constructing the Bond Store were recovered and details of its construction were uncovered and recorded. It was also a good opportunity to learn from the volunteers and other visitors to the site about their experience of archaeology with PACA.