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The Windsor Bridge Replacement Project: Maritime Underwater Excavation

NSW Roads and Maritime Service has committed to the redevelopment of the Windsor Bridge, located in Windsor, NSW, after 10 years of investigations. The Windsor Bridge Replacement Project will involve the construction of a replacement bridge about 35 m east of the existing bridge. Cosmos Archaeology has been engaged to undertake the maritime archaeological components of the field investigation since 2008. Investigations have included two desktop assessments for the preliminary investigations of the punt and wharf sites and the Windsor crossing. In 2013, a desktop maritime archaeological assessment was conducted to identify potential maritime archaeological remains and to prepare a Statement of Heritage Impact for the area. In 2016 an underwater test excavation was carried out within the footprint of the former Windsor Wharf (ca.1814-1940), a survey of the riverbank above the former Windsor Wharf site and an underwater survey of a potential second 19th century wharf. These investigations identified archaeological remains associated with the earliest, if not original, version of the wharf (ca.1810s) that were well preserved under a cobble ballast mound, partially covered with larger quarried stones that serve as erosion protection. In 2018, a second larger underwater excavation took place, from June to September and investigated the archaeological remains were located underneath the cobble ballast mound and quarried stones found in 2016. This investigation also included a survey of the riverbank. This was conducted within three metre depths of water and visibility ranging from 200- 500 mm. The artefacts recovered to date provide a wide-ranging impression of what took place on and around the wharf over 150 years. Reporting for this field season is currently ongoing and will be released in 2019.