Archaeology

Building Brisbane’s new underground means digging deep in the city at a variety of locations. During excavation, demolition and removing rubble from worksites, it’s very likely that items of archaeological significance will be uncovered.

Already, Cross River Rail has unearthed several artefacts from our GoPrint and Landcentre sites at Woolloongabba, that reveal what life was like in Brisbane at the turn of the 20th century at this location.

Cross River Rail's archaeology discoveries

Cross River Rail's archaeology discoveries

Discover more at the Experience Centre

Some of the artefacts found will be housed in the Cross River Rail Experience Centre and the historical backgrounds to each of these items and the locations they are found will become part of the evolving historical collection on display at the Centre.

These artefacts will be shared with the community to add to our collective understanding of Brisbane’s rich history.

  • FAQs

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  • Archaeology is the study of the human past using remains of objects that people created, modified, or used. The archaeological record consists of artefacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes. Project archaeologists have researched the historical archive to understand how our sites have been used since European settlement up to the present day, to determine whether they are likely to be artefacts.

    There is an Archaeological Management Plan to ensure that archaeological risks for the Project are identified as the work goes on. This includes preparing archaeological assessments of the work areas, setting in place conservation and management policies, and identifying zones of archaeological interest.

    As the excavations works progress, archaeologists inspect the site and will carefully uncover potential finds. Lots of measurements, photographs, soil samples and sketches are taken of the find while it is in the ground. If possible and necessary it will then be removed to the workshop for cleaning, cataloguing, and further study.

    We might find artefacts from throughout the history of Brisbane. However, some periods have more artefacts than others.

    • Penal settlement (1825-1839): Exceedingly rare
    • Growth of the colony (1839 – 1885): Very rare
    • Boom and bust (1885 – 1939): Rare
    • World War Two (1939 – 1945): Exceedingly rare
    • Post-war (1945 – present): Representative 20th century

    Once we have found an artefact, it is catalogued, analysed, cleaned, and stored in special storage bags or boxes for further study or addition to a collection. Depending on the artefact, it might go to Queensland Museum, Queensland Rail, the Workshops Rail Museum, or a local historical society or museum. Some finds will remain in-situ and be assessed where they are found, such as brick drains.