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Archaeology of Sydney Research Group

Supporting archaeological research into greater Sydney
We provide a focus and forum for supporting, developing and promoting research as well as professional, educational and other public benefit outcomes from archaeology in the Sydney region.

About us

The Archaeology of Sydney Research Group (ASRG) is a joint initiative between University of Sydney academics, professional archaeologists and researchers. We are interested in exploring, developing, recording and preserving Sydney's archaeology.

Our research

Our work ranges across several broad themes as well as specific projects.

  • Life in Sydney: food and diet, including fish and marine resources, market gardening; ethnicity and gender; mercantilism; convicts, including convict institutions and development of a free society; industry and infrastructure, including maritime, potteries, defence, transport, standing buildings
  • Landscapes: urbanisation, Parramatta, cemeteries
  • Aboriginal Sydney: stone-tool evolution; resource use; land-use patterns; rock art; contact
  • Public archaeology and heritage: synthesis and publication; grey literature; sustainable digital archives; public education
  • History of Sydney arachaeology.

An initiative of the Archaeology of Sydney Research Group in partnership with University of Sydney Library, the project is part-funded by the Department of Planning (NSW) and the New South Wales Heritage Council.

Co-directed by Dr Sarah Colley and Dr Martin Gibbs, we created a sustainable, digital archive of information about the archaeology and heritage of important cultural places in NSW.

Other researchers, archaeologists and the public can explore this archive, enabling unprecedented access to materials not otherwise found in public archives.

  • Stage 1 (2009-2011), we made a collection of previously unpublished consultancy and student research reports – the so-called 'grey-literature' – discoverable, searchable and accessible online. Most of these reports were created before the mid-late 1990s in hard-copy only, and document archaeological field survey, excavation and heritage assessment projects conducted under the NSW Heritage Act. They are a vital resource for research, education, heritage interpretation and management.
  • Stage 2 (2011-2013) involved digitising more unpublished reports as well as three collections of slides and photographs of industrial and other sites taken as part of historical archaeology research and consultancy projects conducted before 1995.

Explore NSW Archaeology Online: Grey Literature Archive.

Our people 

We are a joint initiative between staff from the Department of Archaeology and the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, as well as professional archaeologists and researchers. Meet our steering group:

  • Dr Val Attenbrow, Principal Research Scientist, Australian Museum
  • Dr Mary Casey, Director, Casey & Lowe, archaeology and heritage
  • Associate Professor Annie Clarke, Department of Archaeology, The University of Sydney
  • Dr Paul Irish, Principal Consultant, MDCA cultural heritage.


Headshot of Dr James Flexner