DIRTY WORK: University of Southern Queensland archaeologists have found an underground crypt and bones.
DIRTY WORK: University of Southern Queensland archaeologists have found an underground crypt and bones. Contributed

Bones found as pollie's crypt 'baffles' USQ diggers

BONES and the first clues pointing to the location of an underground crypt have been discovered by a team of University of Southern Queensland archaeologists.

The team is working at Ipswich General Cemetery to uncover the crypt of Joseph Fleming, a member of Queensland's first Parliament in 1860.

Ipswich City Council, in partnership with USQ, is trying to uncover the secrets of one Mr Fleming.

The first significant breakthrough came a week after the dig officially started.

 

The headstone of Phoebe Fleming, wife of one of Queensland's first politicians, Joseph Fleming.
The headstone of Phoebe Fleming, wife of one of Queensland's first politicians, Joseph Fleming. Contributed

USQ Professor Bryce Barker and his team found bones about 2m to 3m below the cemetery surface.

They were found either side of a headstone belonging to the politician's wife Phoebe Fleming within the crypt.

"On one hand, we are very encouraged by what we have uncovered so far," Professor Barker said.

"On the other, we are concerned by the amount of damage to the crypt and within the walls."

The council discovered the location of the underground crypt late last year.

 

Archaeologists work to carefully document the crypt and bones found at Ipswich General Cemetery.
Archaeologists work to carefully document the crypt and bones found at Ipswich General Cemetery. Contributed

Between 40 to 50 years ago, the crypt roof had collapsed and the crypt was filled in with soil and covered over.

Professor Barker said extent of damage to the crypt and two coffins inside was greater than expected.

"We have found human bones scattered all over the place," he said.

"None of it makes much sense at the moment. We had hoped to find the bones in situ, but that hasn't been the case."

Work will continue this week, uncovering more bones and clues to the mystery.



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