As part of the planning approval on Stage 1, Sydney Metro was required to conduct an archaeological salvage program on identified Aboriginal archaeological sites prior to the start of construction.
Archaeological salvage programs such as the Sydney Metro Northwest project, work to save archaeological information that would otherwise be lost due to development.
Sydney Metro has undertaken one of the most comprehensive Aboriginal archaeological programs conducted to date in Sydney’s North West Region.
Between Bella Vista Station and Tallawong Rd, 24 identified sites involved the hand excavation of 1168 square metres (m2) resulting in the recovery of 13,019 artefacts. Around 90 percent of all artefacts were made from red silcrete, a stone valued for quality and reliability.
Three sites were identified between Epping and Hills Showground station, however no artefacts were uncovered at these site. They were found to be highly disturbed and did not hold any archaeological significance.
Aboriginal community representative: Indigenous artefacts
Archaeologists and Aboriginal community representatives at work
Archaeologists creating a catalogue of Indigenous artefacts
The information obtained through the Sydney Metro Northwest Aboriginal archaeological programs helps illustrate the way in which past Aboriginal people lived in and moved throughout their landscape.
Within the Sydney Metro Northwest project area, it is likely that artefacts uncovered from the excavation program were from family groups belonging to the larger Darug-speaking clan.
Analysis of the archaeological findings helped experts to understand both the past activities of clans and linkages between places and across time.
Aboriginal stakeholder consultation
The archaeological salvage program was undertaken in consultation with 11 Aboriginal groups or individuals registered as stakeholders for consultation on the project.
Stakeholders were identified, consulted and participated in the environmental assessment for the project. Registered Aboriginal stakeholders were consulted regarding the salvage methodology and participated in the archaeological salvage program.
During the excavation program between 25 and 50 archaeologists worked alongside representatives from the Aboriginal community and the entire program was undertaken with the assistance of the registered aboriginal stakeholders.
Storage of artefacts
The location of the final repository of Aboriginal objects was discussed with Aboriginal stakeholders and the agreed approach in the approved methodology is to store the complete assemblage at the Australia Museum.