Archaeology and Ancient History

Kinchega Archaeological Research Project

Archaeologists excavating at KinchegaThis project has involved the study of the environmental, material cultural, written, and oral record for a 19th- and early 20th-century homestead complex on the Kinchega National Park in outback western NSW, Australia, the Old Kinchega Homestead. The Homestead was built c. 1876 and abandoned in 1955. The aim of the project is to investigate household consumption and social practices associated from colonialism in this rural context.

A porcelain headThere have been four fieldwork campaigns for this project that operated as student fieldschools. The first, in 1996, was directed by Paul Rainbird, Sam Wickman and Penelope Allison. This campaign, funded by  the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Studies and Charles Sturt University, involved students from Charles Sturt University and members of the Menindee Land Council who recorded of the main extant features of the occupation of the area, both European and indigenous. Subsequent field campaigns, post-excavation analyses, and archival and oral research have been directed by Penelope Allison. The second campaign in 1998 was funded by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and involved students from the University of Sydney who completed the recording of the extant features of the homestead complex. Further fieldschools in 1999 and 2000, funded by the University of Sydney, comprised excavations through the main residential buildings and involved students from the University of Sydney. The field campaign in 2002, funded by the Australian National University, involved artefact collection from the Homestead rubbish dump. Post-excavation analyses of the artefacts from these campaigns and archival research of the Kinchega Pastoral Estate book-keeping records were carried out in 2009 and 2010, with funding from the British Academy. In 2014 I held a Harold White Fellowship at the Australian National Library to carry out library research for the two monographs resulting from this project.


P. M. Allison and V. Esposito 2020 Who came to tea at the Old Kinchega Homestead?: Tablewares and teawares at the Old Kinchega Homestead. Leicester Archaeology Monograph series 25Oxford: British Archaeological Reports Int. Series 2964.The book cover for Who Came to Tea at the Old Kinchega Homestead? by Penelope M. Allison and Virginia Esposito

P. M. Allison, Conversations and material memories: insights into outback domestic life at the Old Kinchega Homestead, Historical Archaeology 48.1 (2014): 87-104.

P. M. Allison and A. Cremin, Fine ceramics from the Old Kinchega Household, Australasian Historical Archaeology 24 (2006): 55-64.

P. M. Allison, The Old Kinchega Homestead: household archaeology in outback Australia, International Journal for Historical Archaeology 7 no. 3 (2003): 161-194.

P. M. Allison, The Household in Historical Archaeology, Australasian Historical Archaeology 16 (1998): 16-29.

P. M. Allison, (with contributions from M. Barry, P. Crook and R. Pullar) The Kinchega Archaeological Research Project: Survey of the Old Kinchega Homestead 1998. (Report for Cultural Heritage Division, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service).

P. M. Allison, Household Archaeology at Pompeii and Kinchega. In C. Petrie and S. Bolton eds. In the field: archaeology at Sydney University, 25-28. Sydney: University of Sydney (University of Sydney Archaeological Methods Series # 4, 1997).

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