Archaeology field school at Peninsula Farm

A UWA field school brings exciting possibilities of discovery at Peninsula Farm.

The National Trust is excited to be hosting an archaeology field school on the grounds of Peninsula Farm. Staff and students from the University of Western Australia will be on site from 4 to 10 April to get some hands-on archaeology experience.

Like many historic sites, Peninsula Farm has changed over time as buildings were added and demolished. Archaeology is one way we can build a better understanding of these changes.

Overlooking Derbarl Yerrigan (the Swan River) Peninsula Farm is thought to be the earliest colonial residence still standing in the Perth metropolitan area. The National Trust is working to learn more about this important place and make it more accessible to the community, while protecting its heritage values.

While there has been some preliminary archaeological assessment of the house and grounds at Peninsula Farm, the National Trust seeks to better understand and document the cultural landscape to inform future conservation and interpretation works.

The UWA field school will be focusing on a site survey to confirm the location of structures marked on previous maps, in particular those in Chauncy’s 1841 survey. They will be trying to identify the original footprint of the current house, which was built in 1839, and former outbuildings. Excavations will be carried out to verify the actual locations of the dwelling and outbuildings, including a large stable.

Ground penetrating radar was used in late March to identify areas of interest for excavation and help direct the field school in its work (see photographs below courtesy of UWA’s Centre for Forensic Anthropology).

Historical images, such as the photograph above from 1920, are also an important tool in helping to verify the location and nature of these buildings. This photograph was recently found at the State Library of Western Australia in the Warwick Broomfield papers (ACC 7246A and ACC 8192A Folder: 8192A/53 1971).

Peninsula Farm master plan

Using information gathered from activities such as the field school, the National Trust is undertaking a master planning process at Peninsula Farm, which will see important upgrades to facilities and visitor engagement as well as the conservation of significant heritage fabric. To learn more and to see a copy of the master plan, see the Peninsula Farm web page.

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