As another year comes to an end, we present you with a selection of our favourite sites, discoveries and archaeology moments from 2014. It’s been a good year.
We did a lot of digging….
So much mud. Image: H. Williams.
Our biggest site of the year, this excavation yielded over a hundred boxes of artefacts and almost two hundred archaeological features, including the industrial complex being excavated in this photo. Image: H. Williams.
In July, we got to spend a weekend out in Akaroa working on the French Farm homestead, built in the 1840s by French settlers. You can read more about the history of the house and our initial impressions of the archaeology here and here. Image: K. Watson.
Digging, digging, digging. So much digging. Image: K. Bone.
Drawing and recording a brick floor excavated in Christchurch’s central city. Image: H. Williams.
Kirsa recording the French Farm site, using a theodolite to create a survey plan, while the rest of us drew elevations of the building itself. Image: K. Watson.
One of the elevation drawings of the French Farm building. Image: L. Tremlett.
While recording this Lyttelton house, built in the 1850s, we found this handwritten note fragment on one of the interior wall boards. We’re not entirely sure what it says (something about Hokitika), but it’s pretty fantastic. Image: K. Webb.
We found some cool things…
An industrial complex on Lichfield Street, constructed from 19th century bricks. It’s pretty rare for us to find such substantial floors and foundations from long demolished buildings, so this was a pretty cool find. Image: H. Williams.
The floor and foundations of an 1850s business, found on Cashel Street, another rare find for us. During our research on this site, we found a story about the owner opening a bar on the section, which he named ‘The Blighted Cabbage’ in response to the Mr William ‘Cabbage’ Wilson’s strenuous objections to the very same establishment. An excellent name for a bar. Image: K. Bone.
This epic barrel-lined well was one of the more notable ones we excavated this year. It’s also the deepest, extending down to 3.8 metres below the ground surface. You can just make out the barrel timbers at the base of the feature, where two barrels were stacked on top of each other, with a length of iron pipe extending down through them into the water bearing alluvial gravel strata below. A limestone block was also found at the base, evidently functioning as a filter for the water. Image: H. Williams.
We found this hundred and thirty five year old footprint in concrete foundations (poured in 1879). We worked out that it’s the equivalent of a modern men’s size 9 (American): it probably belonged to one of the workers on the site. Image: L. Tremlett.
One of the absolute coolest finds of the year, a clay smoking pipe shaped like a skull and complete with bright blue glass eyes. The pipe resembles a style of decoration that was particularly popular in France in the latter half of the 19th century. Image: C. Dickson.
A (very) small selection of some of the exciting things we’ve found this year, including an immense number of shoes and hats, lovely transfer printed ceramics, children’s artefacts, books, bottles and clay pipes. Image: J. Garland.
During analysis of a time capsule that we found last year, we discovered this beautifully preserved notice detailing the laying of the very foundation stone in which we found the capsule. It certainly doesn’t look 120 years old! Image: J. Garland.
Definitely the oldest thing we’ve found this year, this 1825 Georgian shilling was found at an 1850s business site on Cashel Street. Image: J. Garland.
Some of us also mucked about in boats…
One of our team was lucky enough to complete an archaeological survey of the Lyttelton Port, finding over sixty archaeological sites and getting to spend some time out on the water. Image: M. Carter.
…built the occasional box-fort…
As it happens, the box-fort around my desk functions as an excellent defensive fortress in the nerf-gun wars that frequently take hold of the office. Image: J. Garland.
This is actually more of a box-maze, constructed from all the boxes of artefacts we’ve found and/or analysed this year, but it’s still impressive (and a little terrifying, if you’re the artefact analyst!). It also provides an excellent defensive position from which to leap out and startle people. Image: J. Garland.
… and made friends with some animals.
Chelsea having a conversation with a feline visitor to one of our sites. Honestly, the cat doesn’t look that impressed with whatever it is that she’s saying. Image: J. Hughes.
Cows! Also not looking impressed. Image: K. Bone.
This curious chicken followed Kim around site one day. Image: K. Bone.
All things considered, it’s been a busy year. Frankly, we’re exhausted.
See? Totally shattered. Image: C. Dickson.
Thank goodness it’s the holidays. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all!
We’ll see you again in February 2015.
The team at Underground Overground Archaeology Ltd