Grim convict past revealed in archaeological dig (Australia)





A recent archaeological dig on Tasmania's remote west coast promises to shed more light on one of Australia's most notorious penal outposts.

Although it only operated for eleven years before being closed in 1833, Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour had a reputation as one of the British Empire's most hellish prisons.

Hemmed in by impenetrable wilderness, it housed the colony's hardest criminals, including the notorious cannibal Alexander Pearce.

A team of ten archaeologists recently finished a three week dig on the island.

Parks and Wildlife archaeologist, Jody Steele, says one of the most interesting finds was graffiti etched into the bricks of the one metre by two metre cells.

"We're hoping we can pull the convict records for the island - the men who were actually stationed out on the island - and cross reference them," he she said.

"Hopefully get some evidence as to who was in the cells at the time, so we might have a clearer idea about who was being locked up and when."

A pile of black swan egg shells found in a fireplace, reveal it was a popular menu item.

The artefacts will be taken to Britain for analysis by experts from the University of Manchester.


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