Gold Rush Archaeology and Environmental Crises

Susan Lawrence (Australia)

The global gold rush of the mid-nineteenth century is the stuff of legend and romantic nostalgia. It was also a time of unprecedented environmental crises. Archaeological research in Victoria, Australia, has uncovered new evidence of a forgotten catastrophe. Thick layers of alluvium on floodplains are the consequence of unregulated dumping of industrial waste and rivers that ran thick with sludge for two generations. The story of how it got there and what was done to stop it is a lesson of hope, persistence, and the triumph of community activism.

La Trobe Archaeology Videos for festivalCHAT.

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