By Tom Georgonicas
I thought I would follow up on my previous blog with a look at other archaeological digs, both nationally and internationally that have taken place in car parks.
Back in 2011, an excavation was carried out on a car park in Hindley Street, Adelaide. The car park was to make way for a new learning centre for the University of South Australia, but before the building began, Austral Archaeology carried out an archaeological assessment of the car park. Excavations were carried out late that year and the results were amazing. Structural remains of a home built in 1838, the Temperance Hotel and a corner of the original West End Brewery were found. A short summary of what was found can be found on the Uni SA website or by clicking here.
Also in 2011t excavations were carried out in a car park in Bunbury, Western Australia. The excavation team, led by members of the Department of Maritime Archaeology from the Western Australian Museum, found three sites relating to shipwrecks. These shipwrecks were the whaling vessels the Samuel Wright and the North America. If you are interested in learning more on these excavations, follow this link provided by the Western Australian Museum. At the end of the page there is a download link of the full report of the site by Ross Anderson and Madeline McAllister.
Last, but not least, in Britain, the remains of King Richard III, the last King of England of the Plantagenet line were discovered underneath a car park in Leicester, along with the remains of a Grey Friars church.
It caused a worldwide media sensation when the remains were exhumed in August 2012. It was noted at the time of the exhumation that the skeleton showed traces of scoliosis of the spine, an object embedded in the spine and severe injuries to the skull. The use of historic maps was also important to the project. The arrangement and location of the friary buildings were not known. By using a map from the mid 18th century, the team was able to locate the buildings and what areas of the friary had not been built upon over the years. (Buckley et al. 2013)
I don’t expect to find kings or ships buried under car parks in Adelaide, but I wrote this to show the archaeological potential that car parks can hold. Progress wise, I am getting there. I am entering the writing phase at the moment, gathering the data and photos etc. Hopefully on my next blog post I can give a sample of my results.
Buckley. R.,M. Morris, J.Appleby and T.King 2013 ‘The king in the car park’: New light on the death and burial of Richard III in the Grey Friars church, Leicester, in 1485. Antiquity 87: 519-538.