The Deep Time Project is a University of Newcastle initiative to create an immersive 3D VR simulation of a 6,700 year old archaeological dig of an ancient Aboriginal factory site uncovered in Newcastle West in 2009. Over 5,500 artefacts were discovered on the site by archaeologists working with Awabakal Aboriginal traditional custodians. It is with great respect to the Aboriginal ancestors who created these objects, and to further greater respect for ancient Aboriginal culture that this project was developed.
Between 2011-2019 The Awabakal Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation through a Care and Control Agreement with the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) placed the assemblage in the custody of the University of Newcastle’s archives in Special Collections, Auchmuty Library, to be held as evidential records of Aboriginal people, for ongoing study, research and community access.
In September 2016 two world first 3D and Virtual Reality innovation pilot projects involving the artefacts were proposed as part of the establishment of a GLAMx Living Histories Digitisation Lab, a work integrated learning initiative (WIL) with the Special Collections in the Auchmuty Library.
The UON Innovation Team, with funding from FEDUA, successfully sourced digitisation equipment. and initial trials digitising artefacts into 3D, and recreating digitally through our Recollect Living Histories platform to an immersive 3D virtual reality simulation of the dig was successfully created. This is known as the Deep Time Project.