Kingston Pier Norfolk Island

Commonwealth Government

Norfolk Island, Australia
2020 - 2021


Norfolk Island boasts a rich cultural heritage landscape, both on land and underwater. When the Commonwealth Government proposed to improve the shipping capabilities of Kingston Pier, Cosmos Archaeology was the consultancy of choice to prepare a Statement of Heritage Impact (SoHI) for the underwater cultural heritage. Further investigations were undertaken during a non-disturbance dive survey and subsequent test excavation.

Historical research found that the area of the proposed works has been in constant use since 1788 as the primary landing place for Norfolk Island. This cultural activity has resulted in objects being discarded, both accidently and deliberately within the waters of the study area, and a number of shipwrecks situated just beyond the proposed works area. Most notably, this included the wreck of HMS Sirius, the flagship of the First Fleet. An archaeological dive inspection carried out in 2020 concluded that culturally significant artefacts could be concentrated and buried within gullies, gutters, cracks and fissures within the study area. This was followed by a test excavation to obtain a better understanding of the extent, frequency and variety of the underwater cultural resource. Twenty-three artefacts were assessed as being potentially 19th century or earlier.

To mitigate the impact of the proposed works on the underwater archaeological remains, Cosmos Archaeology devised an extensive archaeological excavation and monitoring programme. This covered all aspects of the archaeological investigation, including the recovery, recording, management and publicising of the artefacts as well as the data collected.