Archaeological assessment of the Burke and Wills Plant Camp

Project Goal

To investigate claims that a remote, western Central Queensland archaeological site is Burke and Wills Camp 46R, the 'Plant Camp'.

Project Background

In June 2009, a small Queensland Museum team comprising of an archaeologist, collection manager and conservator were invited to participate in an excavation coordinated by the University of Melbourne. The excavation was undertaken at a site located in a protected area in western Central Queensland and claimed as a Burke and Wills’ campsite by some members of the community.

The site was initially surveyed using geophysical instruments, which identified targets which were then archaeologically excavated. The project recovered 162 objects during the excavation. Many of these objects are related to weapons and include percussion caps, percussion nipples and bullets. In addition the team recovered pen nibs, buttons, glass fragments, screws and a glass fragment that may be from the sun filter of a sextant.

Further analysis of artefacts from this and other sites is underway, including an Honours thesis, journal publications, an exhibition and public talk.

Project team

Nicholas Hadnutt