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, we have uncovered items of archaeological significance that reveal what life was like in Brisbane at the turn of the 20th century at this location.

Collection of old bottles and jars inside a cabinet

National Archaeology Week

National Archaeology Week (Monday 17 to Friday 21 May 2021) celebrates the work of archaeologists across Australia digging, studying, and piecing together Australia’s past.

During the week, Cross River Rail hosted a range of livestreamed talks on a wide variety of topics that you can watch by selecting the talk in the carousel below.

If want to catch up on last year’s lectures, you can find them on our YouTube channel as well as download archaeologically-themed activities for students at our Education page.

Discover more at the Experience Centre

Some of the artefacts found are housed in the Cross River Rail Experience Centre.

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.

top down view of various artefacts, such as bottles, that have been discovered whilst building the Cross River Rail project.

Interact with our artefacts

Use the links below to interact with our 3D scans of some of the artefacts we have discovered so far:

Cross River Rail's archaeology discoveries

Cross River Rail's archaeology discoveries

  • Archaeology and Cross River Rail

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  • Brisbane’s rich heritage at all Cross River Rail worksites means it’s very likely that items of archaeological significance will be uncovered along the project corridor.

    It is common to find items of archaeological significance on large infrastructure projects.

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

    Archaeologists inspect the site and carefully uncover potential finds. Finds are then measured, photographed, and soil samples and sketches of the find taken while it is in the ground. It is then taken to the workshop for cleaning, cataloguing, and further study.

    When an artefact is found it is catalogued, analysed, cleaned, and placed in special storage bags, or boxes for further study or added to a collection. The artefact may go to the Queensland Museum, Queensland Rail, The Workshops Rail Museum, or a local historical society or museum.

    We expect to find more artefacts from throughout the history of Brisbane. However, some periods of Brisbane’s history will 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 of 20th century