About 800 historical archaeology sites are located in the Melbourne CBD.
In 1993 we created a plan of the Central Business District (PDF 3MB) identifying over 800 sites that have the potential to contain archaeological remains.
Some of these sites relate to the earliest stages of Melbourne's settlement; others are relics of the gold rush; or the flourishing years of Marvellous Melbourne in the 1880s. The history of Melbourne, and the great events that shaped Melbourne's development are reflected in the archaeological relics that are buried beneath the modern streetscape.
The plan identifies areas that have a high level of archaeological potential (purple), areas that have more moderate potential (green), and shows sites where archaeological excavation work has taken place (red). Excavation work in the city has become increasingly common, resulting in a better understanding of Melbourne's early history and material culture.
If there is a proposal to disturb or develop a site that may contain archaeological material, the Heritage Act (1995) requires approval to be sought from Heritage Victoria. In some cases it is necessary to conduct an excavation to uncover and record any significant archaeological relics.
More information can be found in the Historical Archaeology FAQs.