The archaeologist who unsuccessfully nominated the Kings Meadows Convict Station for inclusion in the Tasmanian Heritage Register says the experience has highlighted to him that the state's archaeological community needs to take a more active role in ensuring historic sites are protected.
Richard Tuffin's comments come after the Tasmanian Heritage Council determined in December that there weren't enough physical remains of the Kings Meadows site and that it had been too severely impacted by agricultural and subdivision work to warrant its own entry on the THR.
THC chairwoman Brett Torossi said in a statement that the council's conclusion was that "the combination of these factors have reduced the heritage values and diminished the integrity of its features to the point where entering the site on the [THR] could not be justified".
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The unearthing of the convict station, dating back to 1837, followed an excavation of the site in November 2018 as part of works on a City of Launceston-approved subdivision. It's believed the station had been incorrectly listed on the register as being located at Relbia.
"[This experience] has made me aware that the archaeological community needs to be a bit more vociferous and a bit more active in taking an interest in what's going on and trying to make sure that what is happening is the best that we can do," Dr Tuffin said. "Because ... we destroy sites by digging them."
Dr Tuffin said he was disappointed the THC had appeared to focus on a particular criterion in the Historic Cultural Heritage Act in assessing the site's worthiness of being included in the register.
"Their argument, I guess, was that there wasn't much of [the site] left," he said.
"But there's also other criteria to hang it off, like criterion (a): it is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Tasmania's history.
"From a European settlement perspective, the convict system is pretty much fundamental to the course and development of later Tasmanian history."