Emma reports on Sydney Observatory’s past archaeology workshops

“Archaeology at Fort Phillip – The curious case of the mystery button”
by Emma Shrapnel

Button found at Observatory-blog

A button discovered at Sydney Observatory’s Fort Phillip archaeology site

To some, this may look like an old, relatively ordinary button. However it is the context in which this button was found, and what its presence may reveal to us about the history and inhabitants of the area that make this button quite special. Artefacts like this mere button help to show us the lives of those who used to occupy a place. Who did this button belong to? Why were they at Fort Phillip? What is it made out of? What is the picture on the button? These are all questions that participants at our last workshop for young archaeologists got the chance to ask.

The “Dig it: workshop for young archaeologists” is a fun and scientific program suited for 7 to 12-year-olds at Sydney Observatory’s Fort Phillip site. The children are invited to become hands-on archaeology detectives and take part in a simulated archaeology dig and artefact analysis led by a professional archaeologist. In this program children learn to understand the importance of artefacts and their vital role in telling the stories of times past. Feedback from parents found that the program was a fun, creative and educational activity to keep the children busy during the school holidays. The children said they really loved digging and discovering the artefacts. They discovered all sorts of artefacts such as pieces of plates, nails, bottles, stone flints and many others. After they were finished digging it was then on to the crucial stage of carefully cleaning the artefacts they had discovered. The children were then invited to sketch and analyse their artefacts, striving to determine what their artefact was, what it was made out of, what it was used for and who used it. This last section of the workshop helps to boost creative thinking in the minds of these inquisitive young archaeologists.

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If you’d like to solve the case of the mystery button, and of the many other artefacts waiting to be discovered at Fort Phillip, book online for the upcoming Dig It Workshop For Young Archaeologists these school holidays or by phone on 9921 3485.

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