A range of exciting education programs are offered at The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre. Programs focusing on the archaeology and history of The Big Dig site were specially developed for for the centre, in consultation with academic educators and practicing classroom teachers. They were designed to link closely with the Australian Curriculum and are professionally presented by the guides team Sydney Learning Adventures.
Programs Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $14 per student (minimum of 20)
SLA Programs Booklet 2021: SLA Booklet 2021
Curriculum links: Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 History
Find out about the children who lived in The Rocks during the 1800s. What were their houses like? What games did they play? How were their lives different from, and similar to, ours? Students work as archaeologists, excavating artefacts from our simulated archaeological dig, then use our interactive map mat to examine and discuss them in the context of the everyday lives of children who lived in The Rocks in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Booking enquiry.
Curriculum links: Stage 2 History
Ball-and-chain shackles? Torn and filthy rags decorated with broad arrows? History books often describe horrific tales of the brutal punishment and agonising labour experienced by convicts in early colonial Sydney. Students will work as archaeologists to excavate artefacts from our simulated archaeological dig, then use their investigative skills to discover what life was really like for the convicts and early settlers who lived in The Rocks during the 1800s. Booking enquiry.
Pieces of the Past
Curriculum links: Stage 3 History
Early settlers’ buttons, buckles, bottles and beads were among the artefacts found under the floorboards in The Rocks. Students combine artefacts that they excavate from our simulated archaeological dig with other sources, to find out about the lives of people in Australia’s colonial past, focusing on the Cumberland Street neighbourhood of The Rocks in the 1800s. They look at how the Australian colony developed, who the significant people were, and how colonisation changed the environment. Booking enquiry.
Cesspits and Old Rubbish
Curriculum links: Stage 4 World History: Ancient Medieval and Modern
Archaeology has been dubbed ‘the science of rubbish’ because it involves the excavation and analysis of objects people have thrown away. Students access a range of sources to investigate whether The Rocks really was the ‘dirty slum’ it was seen as during the 19th century. Through an analysis of the artefacts discovered in wells, cisterns, cellars and cesspits students examine the lives of the people who lived in the small houses and narrow lanes of this close-knit neighbourhood. Booking enquiry.
Shopfront to Western Front
Curriculum links: Stage 5 Global History: The Modern World and Australia
How did industrialisation, imperialism and significant events such as World War one impact on how people in The Rocks lived, worked and thought? Students work as archaeologists to interpret a unique archaeological site, examine authentic artefacts, and delve into the lives of real families who lived in The Rocks between the mid-18th and early 20th centuries. Using a range of archaeological, written and photographic sources, this program incorporates key historical concepts and skills such as continuity and change, cause and effect, perspective and empathetic understanding. Booking enquiry.
Groundwork: Archaeology at The Big Dig
Curriculum links: Stage 6 Ancient History, History extension and Stage 5 Elective History
How do historians and archaeologists investigate, record, reconstruct and interpret the past? What types of questions do they ask? What ethical issues are involved in the excavation, conservation and interpretation of a site, and its presentation to the public?
Students use written and archaeological sources to undertake an inquiry-based investigation into topics such as the lives of the men and women who lived and worked in The Rocks in the 19th century; the impact of the Industrial Revolution on them; and the sociocultural identity of The Rocks. Booking enquiry.
Groundwork – Extended (Full day program)
Stage 6 Ancient History / History Extension / Stage 5 Elective History
How do historians and archaeologists investigate the past? What types of questions do they ask? What ethical issues are involved in the excavation, conservation and interpretation of a site?
This full day (9.30am – 2.15pm) program incorporates all components of the Groundwork: Archaeology at The Big Dig program with additional visits to two other sites in The Rocks. There are no set dates for the program – bookings will be taken on request, depending on availability. The program cost $25 per student, with a minimum of 20 students.
The program components will include:
Tour of The Big Dig archaeological site
Hands on artefacts analysis session
Visit to a second archaeological site in The Rocks
Guided tour of The Rocks Discovery Museum
Students use written and archaeological sources to undertake an inquiry based investigation. They examine the lives of a number of men and women who lived and worked in The Rocks during the 19th century, and consider the impact the industrial revolution had on their lives and on the sociocultural identity of The Rocks.