Welcome to the archaeological excavation of the Port Arthur workshops

UPDATE – 1 April 2020…Annnnnd we’re on hiatus. Having an involuntary break. We’ve had to mothball the site for the foreseeable future. This blog site will continue, however, as I switch back to my desk job and research and write like the pointy-headed academic I am. R


During the course of 2020 we will be updating this feed with information on findings from our archaeological project: “a mill for grinding rogues honest”: convict labour at an Australian industrial prison. This is a collaborative project between the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority and Dr Richard Tuffin, Postdoctoral Research Fellow from the University of New England.The investigations will run between March – November 2020, during which time a team of archaeologists will uncover evidence of the multi-phase convict-period workshops that had been situated in the area. The workshops were integral to the operation of the Port Arthur penal station (1830-77), a large and important centre of convict incarceration in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania, Australia).

Area of investigation

View of the Penitentiary precinct and the area to be investigated. The historic image shows the workshops as at ca.1863 (courtesy of the Tasmanian Archives, State Library of Tasmania)

As well as boring informing you of our findings, we will also provide some insight into the processes that we as archaeologists follow as we excavate, record and analyse the physical evidence of the past.