Historical Archaeology

Historical heritage refers to archaeological sites that have occurred as a result of the arrival of European people in Australia. It covers places where a range of activities were undertaken by European people in the past such as mining, pastoralism, agriculture, commerce and community development. Historical heritage also incorporates maritime heritage such as shipwrecks, sunken aircraft and infrastructure related to maritime activities.

When developing sites protected under state or federal historical heritage legislation, our consultants work with you to efficiently identify the significance of a site, obtain any consents and permits that may be required, and work closely with relevant regulatory authorities such as Heritage Victoria to gain the best outcomes for the archaeology and any proposed development.

Our expert advice provides clear, reliable guidance and services for developing, restoring and conserving historical heritage sites according to relevant legislation, government policy and best practice. We work closely with all levels of government, property owners, managers, developers and architects.

Key Services

  • Archaeological excavation and salvage
  • Due diligence and desktop assessments
  • Historical and maritime heritage assessments
  • Permit and consent applications
  • Predictive modelling and GIS mapping

How You Benefit

We commit to delivering trustworthy, accurate and efficient advice for your project. This requires an in-depth understanding of relevant legislation and policy, and excellent technical expertise that applies the highest historical archaeology principles.

You can expect:

  • Accurate assessments that provide certainty
  • Well considered research design
  • Clear and concise reporting of field excavation findings and management plans
  • Fast turnaround that supports project timelines
  • Site recording that maximises the amount of historical information gained from a site during excavation
  • Early advice regarding the importance of findings associated with a site or project to improve project management
  • Pragmatic and innovative solutions to the development, restoration and conservation of historical heritage sites.

Assessing Historical Archaeology

As part of a permit approval process, our experienced advisors identify historical heritage sites and provide advice on measures to protect and promote important sites.  

Our team conducts accurate and comprehensive site recordings. This information provides you with an understanding of the key heritage values, their sensitivities, the significance of impacts on these values, and any implications under relevant legislation and policy applicable to your development or action.

Even if a site has not previously been recorded, state legislation may protect a site from development without a permit. In Victoria for example, historical heritage is protected under the Heritage Act 2017 and all historical heritage sites older than 75 years' old are protected regardless of whether they have been previously recorded or not. 

Heritage Permits

Permits are required for any impacts such as uncovering, excavating or damaging registered historical heritage places or archaeological sites. Permits may also be required from local councils for impacts to places registered on the heritage overlay of the local planning scheme.

Substantial penalties apply for undertaking works to heritage places without an appropriate heritage permit. To clarify your obligations, contact one of our heritage specialists for advice on your project's requirements and for assistance with the preparation of the necessary consents and permits.

Maritime Heritage

Maritime heritage relates to historic shipwrecks and maritime artefacts such as jetties, piers, navigation structures, sunken aircraft, whaling infrastructure, lighthouses and ship building sites in or near the ocean, lakes and rivers. It is protected under the relevant state legislation and the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.

Maritime archaeology covers a diverse range of specialist fields and includes underwater and land-based sites. Whilst land-based sites can be treated the same as historical heritage sites, underwater archaeology requires a different level of technical expertise.

Our maritime heritage services include:

  • Permit and consent applications
  • Maritime historic research
  • Significance assessments
  • Underwater and land-based surveys and site recording
  • Underwater excavation.


Excavating historical archaeological sites gathers important information that cannot be obtained by historical research or site surveys. Our team carry out thorough excavations under accepted methodology noting that, since the information can only be obtained once, it is important that any artefacts and other material are recorded in situ.

Conservation and Heritage Management

A predefined plan of how a heritage place can be used, altered and maintained is an essential tool for ensuring the key heritage values of a heritage place are not compromised.

Our heritage advisors provide Conservation Management Plans and advice that ensures impacts that negatively affect a site and trigger legislative implications are managed. They address practical, viable and sensible strategies and describe management recommendations in detail.

Further Information

Download our Built and Historical Archaeology Capability Statement or contact the team on 1300 839 325 to discuss your project requirements.


  • Archaeological excavation and salvage
  • Artefact analysis
  • Compliance audits
  • Conservation Management Plans
  • Consultation with relevant state heritage bodies
  • Due diligence and desktop assessments
  • Environmental Effects Statements / Environmental Impact Assessments
  • GIS mapping of historical sites
  • Heritage Impact Statements
  • Historical and predictive archaeological assessments
  • Historical research
  • Maritime heritage assessments, permit and consents
  • Preparation of applications for consents and permits to government agencies
  • Strategic conservation planning


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