Over the last few weeks, we’ve been excavating a site in the CBD that’s yielded some of the most interesting artefacts we’ve see for a while. So, today on the blog, we’ve selected a few of these fascinating things for your viewing pleasure. Clay pipes, candlesticks, pepper shakers and bowler hats: scroll down for a veritable feast of pictorial splendour! Or something along those lines.
First up, a bowler hat! This hat is made of felt and may have been worn by either a man or a woman (women used to wear hats like these with riding outfits in the late 19th century). If you look very closely at the rim of the hat, you can see the remnants of the ribbon trim that once decorated it. Image: J. Garland.
A lovely brass candlestick (used by Colonel Mustard in the library, perhaps…).The pieces of fabric stuck to the metal are probably just the remnants of the wrapping it was thrown out in, rather than a functional or decorative part of the candlestick itself. There’s even a candle stub still visible inside the holder, near the base. Image: J. Garland
This lovely little saucer is decorated with a Chinese motif, known as ‘Chang’. It appears to show one man cooking, while another stands around smoking a pipe. Not such an unfamiliar scene, is it? Image: J. Garland.
This is really, really cool. This clay tobacco pipe has a local connection, being made by or for the Trent Brothers, Christchurch. The Trent brothers (Frederick and James) were coffee, flax and chicory merchants based in Christchurch in the second half of the 19th century. The lovely people over at the Lost Christchurch blog have an excellent series of posts on the brothers and their business. As far as we’re aware, no other pipes like this one have been found before in New Zealand. Image: J. Garland.
Surprisngly, we found another New Zealand branded pipe at this site, this time stamped with the mark of Twentyman & Cousin. Messrs Twentyman & Cousin (wonderful names!) were Christchurch retailers originally based in Cathedral Square. In the 1880s they moved to new premises at what is now 93 Cashel Street, into a building designed by renowned architect B. W. Mountfort (Press 17/06/1882:1). Image: J. Garland.
This transfer printed salt/pepper shaker is a surprisingly unusual find: they’re not often found in Christchurch’s archaeological sites. It’s one of my personal favourites from this assemblage. Image: J. Garland
A pig snout gin bottle with an anchor decorated prunt or blob seal on the shoulder. Seals like these were most common in the first half of the 1800s, although they were still being added to bottles at the end of the century (usually to gin bottles like this one). This particular prunt is embossed with ‘Van Dulken Weiland & Co/ Rotterdam’, well-known 19th century Dutch gin manufacturers. Image: J. Garland.
A child’s plate! We’ve featured plates like this before on the blog, although none quite like this one. It reads “…in passing along they beheld on the ground / … man stretch’d along in a sleep most profound”. Image: J. Garland
And to finish….
Shoes! We’ve found a surprisingly large number of shoes (adult and child size) and fabric artefacts from this site, all in fairly good condition. Both the child sized shoe (bottom) and adult lace up shoe shown here (top) are among the only examples we’ve found with the complete upper portion of the shoe intact. Usually, we’re only recovering heels and soles. Aren’t they gorgeous! Images: J. Garland.