eCite Digital Repository

Archaeology as pedagogy at Sydney's 'The Big Dig'


Zarmati, L, Archaeology as pedagogy at Sydney's 'The Big Dig', The Historic Environment, 6, (2) pp. 177-191. ISSN 1756-7505 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2015

DOI: doi:10.1179/1756750515Z.00000000082


When an archaeological excavation took place in 1994 at The Rocks, Sydney’s historic precinct, thousands of people came to watch, many volunteered to dig, and for months ‘The Big Dig’ became a popular tourist attraction. For 15 years afterwards the site remained closed to the public while Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, the statutory body which manages The Rocks, determined how it could conserve, innovatively interpret, and encourage public access to the site. In 2006 Youth Hostels Australia (YHA) won the tender to develop the site, and in December 2009 Sydney Harbour YHA, the largest archaeological urban development ever completed in Australia, opened its doors to visitors. YHA’s corporate mission — to provide educational and personal development opportunities for young people — was a perfect fit with the government’s plan to revitalise The Rocks by attracting more children and young adults to the historic precinct. Since the education programmes began at The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre in 2010, 34,000 school students have participated in learning activities that focus on the history of Australia’s first European settlement. This case study demonstrates how archaeology is used as pedagogy at The Big Dig to facilitate learning in an historic environment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:archaeology, pedagogy, Sydney, The Big Dig, The Rocks, primary, secondary
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Humanities and social sciences curriculum and pedagogy (excl. economics, business and management)
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Pedagogy
UTAS Author:Zarmati, L (Dr Louise Zarmati)
ID Code:104894
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2015-11-24
Last Modified:2017-09-18

Repository Staff Only: item control page