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Metro Tunnel

Our archaeologists

Jo Wilson - Archaeologist

What does your title mean?

It means that I excavate and record contexts as well as planning

Tell me about your previous work/work history?

I graduated La Trobe University with Hons in 2011. My first dig was the Glenrowan (Ned Kelly siege) excavation as a student volunteer during my first year of university, which was pretty cool. Since then I have worked on a variety of historical and indigenous sites including Pentridge Prison, Carlton United Brewery and Spring Street.

What does your average work day look like?

That’s what I love about my career, I have no average work day. Some days I am sitting in my office writing reports with my rabbit at my feet and other days I am working out in the field, like during this project, completing a range of tasks; at the moment, mainly planning. Planning is drawing measured maps of features as they are revealed, and this is important because it shows the evolution of the site as excavation continues. It’s very number heavy and involves a lot of focus.

What has been your best moment on site so far?

There hasn’t been any one particular moment as such, but this site has really given me the opportunity to brush up on my planning skills and work with great group of people on a really exciting project.

Most exciting find of your career?

I did all the background, historical research on the CUB site so I knew what all the different shops were in the 1800’s and 1900’s. It was great finding artefacts which corresponded to the historical documents; leather offcuts in the shoe shop, bones in what used to be the butcher and jeweler in what used to be the jeweler. It was amazing and very reaffirming for me.

Interesting fact about you?

I represented Australia for 2 years in Roller Skating, competing in the Oceania Championships and with my team, placing both years.

Matt O'Reilly - Student Participant (La Trobe University - Honours)

What do you do when you’re not here?

My job outside of this project normally involves selling products to customers at Officeworks as a retail assistant and keyholder. To get the most out of this experience though I have taken time off from that position, so that I can be on site as much as possible and to give myself enough time to finish my thesis. Besides that, I love spending time with my wife and kids and I am an avid gamer.

What does your average work day look like?

As my role on site can change daily, what I do one day can be different from the next and I love this aspect of my work. After the pre-start meeting held everyday we are assigned what we will be doing that day. This can vary from cleaning and cataloging the various artefacts,
to excavating and sieving the historical sites we are working on. That might not sound varied but there are multiple types of material that require different methods of cleaning and storage, and for excavation, diverse layers, depths and soil types all have different methodology to work with and so keeps everything feeling fresh.

What has been your best moment on site so far?

Every day it changes as I believe that every bluestone wall I unearth, every piece of glass or ceramic, every artefact that I uncover is my best moment as it is one more piece of history brought back for future generations to witness. I do this job to bring to light some of Melbourne’s past, so everything I find that could add to that is my favorite moment.

My current favorite moment happened when I was cleaning artefacts one day. The artefacts I had been working with were clumped with mud and you couldn’t really tell what they were until they were cleaned. After putting in one of these clumps into my tub of water (Which was now getting to the point of needing to be changed), I pulled out a white piece of ceramic. It seemed like an odd shape and so after cleaning it more I realized that I was looking at the backside of a white genderless, headless, armless torso. Not the biggest discovery but a memorable one for sure.

Interesting fact about you?

I used to be a professional Ten Pin Bowler at Keon Park AMF. I once was apart of a winning Junior shield team and competed in inter-center competitions.

My love of history and archaeology started at 6 years old, while watching a certain doctor jones attempt to find the holy grail. I know now that real archaeology is nothing like the adventures of Indiana jones movies, but I still get that awesome feeling of discovery for every little thing that pops out of the ground.