Archaeology, Museums & Heritage – ‘An Apple a Day: the hidden role of plant foods at Hyde Park Barracks’
‘An Apple a Day: the hidden role of plant foods at Hyde Park Barracks’
Kimberley Connor (Stanford)
Excavated in the 1980s, Hyde Park Barracks is one of Australia’s World Heritage Listed Convict Sites. What many people don’t know is that most of the archaeology is actually related to two later institutions: the Female Immigration Depot (1848-1887) and the Destitute Asylum (1862-1886). Of particular importance are the tens of thousands of artefacts recovered from below the floorboards of the main building, where dry conditions protected organic materials like paper, textiles and plant remains.
This paper offers a reassessment of the role of plant foods in the institutional diets at Hyde Park Barracks based on desiccated macrobotanical remains. The range of species identified at the site, including several never identified archaeologically before in Australia, requires us to reimagine food consumption in the Barracks and to consider how the women who stayed there engaged with the plant world in their new surroundings. The excellent preservation at the site also highlights the importance of macrobotanical research on historical sites in Australia, particularly in underfloor contexts.
Kimberley Connor graduated from the University of Sydney’s archaeology program in 2016 and is now a Ph.D. Candidate at Stanford University where she is completing her dissertation “From Immigrant to Settler: Diet in Nineteenth-Century British Institutions of Immigration”. As a food historian and archaeologist, her work combines material and archival approaches to food and dining in the past. Her research interests include recipes, cookbooks, identity production, immigration and institutional foodways.
Date: Thursday, the 19th of August
Time: 4-5pm (AEST)
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