Archaeology is the study of the past through an examination of the physical evidence left behind by previous generations.  This physical evidence can include personal possessions, such as coins or clothing items; structures, such as the ruins of residences or wharfs; infrastructure such as drainage or mining equipment; shipwrecks; and aircraft wrecks.  Archaeological heritage can be found above, on, or below the land surface, or in State waters.

Archaeological artefacts, places and landscapes increase our knowledge about past people, places and activities and add to our understanding of how people lived, what they did, and how they interacted.

Archaeological places are protected under the Queensland Heritage Act 1992 through listing on the Queensland Heritage Register.  These places are identified in the register as satisfying criterion 'C', and have a statement of significance relating to their potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Queensland's history.

A place that only satisfies criterion 'C' is known as an archaeological State heritage place.

Places not listed on the Queensland Heritage Register can still have potential to contain archaeological artefacts and it is a requirement under the Queensland Heritage Act 1992 that any discoveries of important archaeological artefacts are reported to the department—Report a discovery.

For information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeological artefacts and cultural heritage visit the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DSDSATSIP) website and its information about the Cultural Heritage Unit.

If you discover fossilised or palaeontological remains please contact the Queensland Museum.