A group of people excavating an archaeological site

To mark National Archaeology Week, the WA Museum – Perth will be hosting Dig Deep!, an event celebrating the fascinating work of archaeologists.

On 12 and 13 May visitors will be able to speak to local WA associations who will be displaying the tools of their trade and discussing the techniques archaeologists use to uncover our past.

WA Museum archaeologists will also be conducting an excavation to discover what lies beneath the Museum Grounds.

WA Museum Head of Archaeology and Anthropology Dr Moya Smith said the Museum Grounds had a long and fascinating history in the development of the city and the State.

“The aim of the dig is to investigate two important past uses of the Museum Grounds site; the Perth Old Gaol and the Victoria Library.

“As our archaeologists, led by Alice Beale, excavate the area visitors will be able to see how an archaeological dig is carried out. It’s often dusty, time consuming and meticulous – but to uncover artefacts that tell fascinating stories from our history is a real thrill,” Dr Smith said.

The archaeologists will be excavating in the suspected location of the Old Gaol and Victoria Library foundations.

The Old Gaol, built in 1855, was used as a convict labour depot and housed the State’s prisoners until they were moved to Fremantle Prison in 1888. The Gaol then became home to the Geological Museum, which would later become the WA Museum.

The Victoria Library built in 1903 served as the State Library until 1985. It stood for more than 80 years and was demolished when the Library moved to its present Perth Cultural site.

Dig Deep! for National Archaeology week is a free event, and will take place at the Western Australian Museum -  Perth from 9:30am to 5:00pm, Saturday May 12 and Sunday May 13, with the digs continuing on into the next week.

Western Australian Museum
9212 3840