SSD Projects in the Hunter Valley

In 2018 OzArk has been involved with the archaeological assessment of two large projects at coal mines in the upper Hunter Valley. These projects involve many hundreds of hectares of potential impact area and necessitated weeks of archaeological survey followed by sometimes extensive test excavation programs. The field survey was accomplished with the assistance of the local Aboriginal community and involved walking numerous transects across the whole of the study area to record all Aboriginal cultural heritage features. These features mostly consisted of artefact sites—ranging from artefact scatters with many hundreds of artefacts to single artefact finds—but also included culturally modified trees and the inspection of several rock shelters for evidence of Aboriginal occupation. Following the field survey and any required test excavation, the results were compiled into large reports many hundreds of pages long that establish the archaeological context of the study area, the results of the field investigations and recommendations regarding the management or mitigation of harm to Aboriginal cultural heritage in the study area. These recommendations are then incorporated into the Environmental Impact Statement being prepared for the projects and will become the basis of conditions pertaining to Aboriginal cultural heritage in the Project Approval if it is consented.

Field survey takes the form of archaeologists and the Aboriginal community walking transects at a fixed spacing. Such a methodology is likely to capture all significant sites.
During the field survey, all artefacts noted, such as this ground-edge axe, are recorded. This enables the archaeological characteristics of an area to be determined.