An archaeology of institutional confinement: the Hyde Park Barracks, 1848-1886

Peter Davies, Penny Crook, Tim Murray

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


The archaeological assemblage from the Hyde Park Barracks is one of the largest, most comprehensive and best preserved collections of artefacts from any 19th-century institution in the world. Concealed for up to 160 years in the cavities between floorboards and ceilings, the assemblage is a unique archaeological record of institutional confinement, especially of women.

The underfloor assemblage dates to the period 1848 to 1886, during which a female Immigration Depot and a Government Asylum for Infirm and Destitute Women occupied the second and third floors of the Barracks. Over the years the women discarded and swept beneath the floor thousands of clothing and textile fragments, tobacco pipes, religious items, sewing equipment, paper scraps and numerous other objects, many of which rarely occur in typical archaeological deposits. These items are presented in detail in this book, and provide unique insight into the private lives of young female migrants and elderly destitute women, most of whom will never be known from historical records.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherSydney University Press
Number of pages132
ISBN (Print)9781920899790
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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