Reconstructing Landscape: Archaeological Investigations of the Royal Exhibition Buildings Western Forecourt, Melbourne
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The western forecourt of the Royal Exhibition Buildings, Carlton, was one of the main components of its “palace garden setting.” After several phases of landscape change, in the 1950s the area was covered with asphalt and used as a car park. In 2004, the “Royal Exhibition Buildings and Carlton Gardens” was inscribed on the World Heritage List and subsequent management and conservation plans provided the stimulus for the conservation and re-interpretation of the western forecourt. The custodians of the site, Museum Victoria, commissioned an archaeological excavation with the aim of uncovering information that would inform the reconstruction of the former 1880s “German Garden.” Godden Mackay Logan (now GML Heritage), in collaboration with La Trobe University, undertook these investigations which became part of a public engagement program, employed new approaches to artifact management and provided significant information regarding changes to the landscape over time.
KeywordsArchaeology Landscape Reconstruction Museums Public engagement Melbourne
The authors wish to acknowledge the contributing principal authors of the archaeological research design and excavation report, Prof. Tim Murray and Geoff Hewitt, along with other contributors to the excavation report, Dr. David Thomas, Dr. Christine Williamson, Anita Yousif and the University of Queensland Culture and Heritage Unit, from which reports much of the information in this article is directly drawn. Thanks are also extended to Museum Victoria as the client for the program of excavation, La Trobe University and the team of volunteers who assisted in the archaeological investigation. We also acknowledge the support of GML Heritage for access to relevant material in the preparation of this paper and particularly the assistance of Melissa Moritz.
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