We dig cats

Whether you share your home with one or not, they say that you’re either a cat person or a dog person. Hamish’s mid-week ‘hands up if you’re a dog person or a cat person’ office poll revealed that most of us here at Underground Overground Archaeology are cat people, and the majority of us have furry four-legged friends at home that love us (or just love our ability to open cat biscuit bags and jelly meat tins for them). Why do archaeologists dig cats so much? Perhaps because cats are both ANCIENT and MAGICAL. As if the internet didn’t already have enough cat content, here’s our long overdue cat archaeology blog. What more can I say? Meow Meow Meow.

The mandatory Grumpy Cat internet meme. Image: https://www.instagram.com/p/nY-DSzk5Ck/

Ancient Cat

DNA studies suggest that the domestic cat (Felis catus) emerged as a distinct and separate species from their ancestors – the African wild cat (Felis silvestris lybica) in the Middle East something like 10,000 years ago. From here they spread out across the globe, travelling alongside us humans as we explored and settled new lands (Marchini 2016). Dogs have been [hu]man’s best friend for longer than cats (about 15,000 years) and, although it’s not a race folks, dogs did in fact make it to Aotearoa New Zealand long before cats did, in the 13thcentury with their East Polynesian peoples (it is not recorded whether these kurī dogs made the trip half-hanging out the window of the waka the whole way).

It is generally agreed that cats sort of domesticated themselves when we decided to settle down and become farmers at the beginning of the great ‘Agricultural Revolution’. We started growing and storing grain and this attracted rats and mice, which in turn attracted into our farming settlements the wild cats for an easy feed. It was a mutually beneficial relationship – we got pest control and they got full bellies. They have stuck around with us ever since.

Sacred to the people of ancient Egypt, killing a cat was a crime punishable by death, and after your cat died, you’d shave off your eyebrows to let everyone know you missed your moggie. Cats were mummified, just like people were, to allow them passage to the afterlife, and to show respect to the cat goddess ‘Bastet’. This culture of cat worship meant that there would eventually be thousands, if not millions of mummified cats in Egypt. Towards the end of the 19thcentury these were being exported to England in great quantities to be pulverized into ‘mummy manure’ – a potash rich fertiliser that was reasonably cheap at about £4 a ton. (South Canterbury Times 26/4/1890: 3). I bet this magical ancient cat powder made the potatoes grow big.

Mummified cat – ancient Egypt, 2000-100 BCE. Image: Science Museum, London. CC BY 4.0.

Ship cat

Because they were so good at catching vermin, cats have been carried on ships since ancient times, and it was ship cats that would first make it to New Zealand. Cats are important at sea because they offer crew companionship and a sense of home. Captain James Cook had cats on board the Endeavour, and cats would also have been on board the different sealing, whaling, and trading vessels that began to visit New Zealand waters in increasing numbers from the late 18thcentury onwards. Sadly history rarely records the names of these pioneering, sea-legged cats.

Convoy, the ship’s cat aboard HMS Hermione. Convoy slept in his own little hammock – how cute is that. Sadly, Convoy perished in 1942 along with 87 of his crew mates after the light cruiser he served on was torpedoed in the Mediterranean by the German submarine U-205. Rest in peace, little Convoy, rest in peace. Image: courtesy Imperial War Museum (Image A6410).

House Cat

Like many 19thcentury towns and cities, early Christchurch had its fair share of problems with rodent infestations, so keeping a household cat was a good way of keeping the vermin population down. In addition, everyone knows that regular cat cuddles keep the black dog at bay. It’s hard to say how many cats there were in early Christchurch, though they were certainly common enough pets by the 1880s that the proper way to care for them should be the subject of an 1884 newspaper article.

Although adept hunters capable of catching their own food, cats need to be fed regularly by their humans to keep them healthy and happy. They should be fed at least once a day, but preferably twice, on a diet of at the very least bread and milk, or potatoes mashed up in milk, or potatoes mashed up with gravy. Pussy cat is healthiest when she gets meat at least once a day, and fish is a good treat, especially if pussy cat is sick. Horse-flesh is ok sometimes, but too much will have a laxative effect. Pussy cat must always have access to a saucer of clean water, and this should be replaced every morning – cats like their water fresh. Cats also need access to grass to chew on – if none is available to the city cat, some should be pulled and placed between two bricks in the scullery, where here it should keep fresh for a week. Most importantly, pussy cat’s food should be nice and clean, as clean as the dish it is served on (Lyttelton Times 23/8/1884: 6).

This pit (at top) containing exclusively the bones of 34 rats (at bottom) which was found on a Victoria Street site suggests that 19th century Christchurch once had a vermin problem of epic proportions. Both images: Hamish Williams.

Ceramic cat figurine found on a Lyttelton site. Image: Maria Lillo Bernabeu.

We have found quite a few cats on archaeological sites in Christchurch, and there have also been a few cats that have also found us on archaeological sites. The cats that have shown up on our sites (without correct PPE mind you) have been mostly pretty helpful with our investigations, but in true cat fashion, only when it suits them.

Rubbish pit feature half sectioned by cat. The excavation field notes that this cat wrote up about this feature were somewhat illegible. Image: Chelsea Dickson.

This skinny cat with the David Bowie eyes showed up on one of my Lyttelton sites a couple of years back. He helped me record the stratigraphy, but only in exchange for all the bacon out of my paleo salad. In the end, he stuck around not much longer than I ended up sticking to my grain-free fad diet. Image: Hamish Williams.

Before it was demolished in 2014, Kirsa recorded this category 2 Heritage New Zealand listed convent building in Rangiora. A number of the corner bricks around the main entrance of this 1907 building had little kitty paw print impressions on them. Not dissimilar to the kitty paw prints left on the 1st century AD Roman tiles that archaeologists found in Nottinghamshire, check out a picture of it here. Image: Kirsa Webb.

Of all the cats that we have found on archaeological sites, none have been found in discrete deposits that we could identify as representing intentional cat burials. I’ve dug up a dog that had been buried out the back of an old hotel (we named this pub-dog Barclay) and I helped dig up a dog that had been buried next to a ditch behind an old foundry (we named this dog Rusty). But we haven’t yet found any deliberate cat burials. All of the cat remains we have found have been the dried up and naturally mummified or completely skeletonized remains of cats which had crawled in underneath old buildings and died. At the best of times it’s pretty much impossible to tell how long they had been there. Regardless, the location where these moggies expired I plot on the site plan, in addition to the location at the back of the section where I formally lay them to rest. Rest in peace anonymous house cat from the past, rest in peace.

This naturally mummified cat was one of the first I found in Christchurch, underneath a house in Addington. I gave him a proper burial at the back of the section, and named him Max – the Cat Warrior. Image: Hamish Williams.

This one-legged articulated cat skeleton I found last August underneath and 1860s dwelling on Kilmore Street. He can’t have possibly crawled in under there with only one leg, leading me to conclude that his other three legs had been taken away post-mortem by rats. Image: Hamish Williams.

Rest in peace, one-legged cat. Rest in peace. Image: Hamish Williams.

Clever Cats

Not just household pets and vermin catchers in 19thcentury Christchurch, cats were also, for a short time, stage spectacles. Between June and early August 1897 William and Musgrove’s ‘Matsa Vaudeville Company’ toured New Zealand, performing for the people of Christchurch with a six-night season at the Theatre Royal. Star of the show was Europe’s renowned ‘Cat King’ Mr Leoni Clarke and his menagerie of performing cats, rats, mice, and canaries. Clarke was evidently something of a Dr Doolittle, and in his early career went by the name of ‘The Professor’ (I couldn’t find out if this was just his early stage name or if Mr Clarke had actually been a zoology professor). So popular was the show expected to be, that special late night tram services were put on to all the suburbs during the season so that all patrons would be able to get home afterwards (Star 3/7/1897: 6).

Star of the 1897 Matsa Vaudeville Company: Mr Leoni Clarke – ‘The Cat King’. Image: Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22685244. Ref: Eph-B-VARIETY-1897-01-1.

Contemporary descriptions of Clark’s animal show suggest it really was something to behold. The cats and monkeys first held a hurdle race, before the cats tightrope-walked a pole ‘thickly studded with canaries, mice, and white rats’. The cats and monkeys then jumped through burning hoops, before the cats entertained the audience with a boxing match. Clarke was perhaps most famous for pioneering the ‘parachuting cat’ act. The cat climbs up a long rope suspended from the ceiling to reach a basket with parachute. At the given signal, the cat descends down by parachute safely into Clarke’s arms (Taranaki Herald 19/6/1897: 2). I don’t know about you, but I’d pay top dollar to see that.

Are Cats easy to train? “There is no animal I know of half so hard to train as a cat” said the Professor. Cats are very scarey. How do you accustom them to the audience? “ Why, that’s easy enough,” replied the Professor. “ I rehearse them at first before a gang of roughs with orchestra accompaniment. The roughs make noise enough, and after a few months the cats don’t mind an audience any more than I do.” How well do they stand the show life? “Not very well. They are continually dying, and there are times when the whole troupe will get the sulks.” Do you ever get scratched? The Professor replied by holding up both hands. They were simply covered with scratches. “They can’t hurt me by scratching,” said the Professor. “I’m tough” (Lyttelton Times 19/5/1891: 2).

Clarke was not the first of Europe’s famous 19thcentury animal trainers, nor would he be the last. Certainly there was good money in training and showing cats – Clarke later reckoned he made up to £100 a week from his cat show (Wanganui Chronicle18/6/1917: 6). The cat thing must have gotten old pretty quick though, because by December 1898 Clarke had seemingly given up on cats and was instead touring his boxing kangaroo around the London music halls (New Zealand Times 3/12/1898: 1).

Space Cat

According to some ancient astronaut theorists, cats are magical creatures that were worshipped as gods in Ancient Egypt because (just like pineapples) they are not of this world. Although the extraterrestrial origins of cats certainly cannot be ruled out, I am unaware of any firm archaeological evidence to support such a theory (and I’ve certainly not found any supporting archaeological evidence myself). Knowing how smart and secretive cats can be, I don’t think that they would give away much in the way of clues if indeed they were from outer space (but do check out this video). Regardless, just in case cats are from out of this world and they indeed have a grand plan in store for us, let us always be kind to, and show respect for the cats, and indeed all other animals, in life and in death.

Muncho the space cat (2016-2018) and 19th century salt-glazed sewer pipes. Rest in peace space cat, rest in peace. Image: Hamish Williams.

Hamish Williams


Marchini, L. 2006. Of mousers and men: The archaeology of the Domestic Cat. Current Archaeology 318. [Online. Available at:] https://www.archaeology.co.uk/articles/features/archaeology-of-the-domestic-cat.htm. [Accessed 25/05/2018].

Lyttelton Times. [online]. Available at http://papaerspast.natlib.govt.nz

New Zealand Times. [online]. Available at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz

South Canterbury Times. [online]. Available at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz

Star. [online]. Available at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz

Taranaki Herald. [online]. Available at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz

Peeling back the onion of time

Recording standing structures not only involves architectural drawings and photography, but can also be quite destructive. In an attempt to modernise an old house owners will often cover “old fashioned” features with new materials, plasterboard being the chief culprit. So, during building recording part of our job often involves removing these modern linings (by any means necessary) to reveal the fabrics beneath, going back in time to see what the building was like originally. And, as you can imagine, taking to a wall with a hammer and crowbar is also good for stress relief.

Through extensive use of the notorious hardboard previous owners of this house had gone to great lengths to cover nearly every inch of original decoration inside the house in order to cut down on the weekly chore of dusting.

Through extensive use of the notorious hardboard previous owners of this house had gone to great lengths to cover nearly every inch of original decoration in the house. Every moulded shirting board, architrave and door panel was covered.

Every moulded skirting board, architrave and door panel in the house was covered with hardboard. Photo: K. Webb.

  Hardboard was used on the exterior of the house too. To cover up weatherboards and this decorative cast iron frieze along the top of the veranda.

Hardboard was used on the exterior of the house too. To cover up weatherboards and this decorative cast iron frieze along the top of the veranda. Photo: K. Webb.

Extensive investigation of the kitchen uncovered this finely moulded paper mache dado. This is the only example found so far of this product in Christchurch.

Extensive investigation in the kitchen uncovered this finely moulded paper mache dado. This is the only example of this product found so far in Christchurch. Photo: K. Webb.

Plasterboard and other modern wall linings sometimes have their merits though. They often have the unintended function of doing a really good job of preserving what is beneath it, particularly wallpaper.


Wallpaper is usually found in multiple layers with a backing of scrim. It is sometimes possible to separate the layers right back to the original wallpaper, as long as no one has painted over it of course. Photo: L. Tremlett.


We may even get a pleasant surprise when we get to the bottom layer. If there was not much money available for decorating, or for extra draft protection, people would often line their walls with newspaper. Photo: L. Tremlett.

This hand written note was found adhered to the tongue and groove match lining of a cottage in Lyttelton.

This hand written note was found adhered to the tongue and groove match lining of a cottage in Lyttelton. It was well preserved beneath a layer of scrim and plasterboard. It gives details of the sailing of the S. S. Grafton from Hokitika in (we think) 1880. What it was doing stuck in the middle of the front room wall of a cottage is a mystery. Photo: J. Garland

Digging deeper into the fabric of a building one may come across some interesting and sometimes, perhaps, elusive objects inside the walls and under the floors.

This book published by the Scottish Temperance movement in 1877 was found behind the tongue and groove lining in a house in Ashburton.

This book entitled Three Years in a Man-Trap published by the Scottish Temperance League in 1877 was found behind the tongue and groove lining in a house in Ashburton. In this case the books were used as a filler, instead of strips of wood, to even up the gap between the match lining and wall. Photo: J. Garland, H. Williams.

Quite often shoes are found concealed beneath the floors of houses.

Shoes are often found concealed beneath the floors of houses in Christchurch. During the 19th century in Britain and some European countries it was a common custom to conceal shoes within the fabric of the building as magical charms to protect the occupants of the building agains evil influences such as witches and ghosts. We can’t say for sure if this was always the case in Christchurch. Photo: K. Webb

We quite often find other items under the floors of houses, such as animal bones, bottles and other domestic rubbish, as well as the odd mummified cat. These items were most likely not deposited under the house for superstitious reasons, we hope. The cats are later given a proper burial.

This cane riding crop was found beneath the floor of the house of John Cracroft Wilson.

This cane riding crop was found beneath the floor of the house of John Cracroft Wilson. Image: I. Hill.

Beyond the superficial appearance of a structure there is a lot we can learn by quite literally peeling back the layers of a building, or excavating it, if you will. Buildings like these can be more than just houses once lived in. There’s history written in the walls, from the changing tastes in interior decoration to things intentionally hidden, covered up or accidentally lost. Whatever the reasons for these hidden bits and pieces, be they mundane, superstitious or inexplicable, they show us that it’s always worth looking beyond the surface of a building to find the treasures within.

Kirsa Webb

‘An ornament and a credit to the city’

Illustrated Australian News (Melbourne), Wednesday 26 January 1876 page 13

An engraving of the Christchurch Normal School soon after it was constructed. Image: Illustrated Australian News26/1/1876:13.

The former Christchurch Normal School was one of the city’s significant architectural landmarks. Built from stone in the gothic revival style, the building occupied a prominent position at the corner of Cranmer Square. The school was commissioned by the Canterbury Provincial Council and completed in 1875. An extension was made along Montreal Street in 1879 to accommodate a kindergarten and training department. You may have passed this building many times and admired the beautiful carving around the doors and windows but never really thought about how the building was constructed and why the building looked the way it did.


The Kilmore Street wing of the Normal School prior to the earthquakes. Image: Kete Christchurch.


A page from a field notebook that forms part of the written record of the Normal School. This page describes the types of windows at the Normal School. Image K. Webb

The Normal School building suffered severe damage from both the September and February earthquakes. Prior to its demolition in October 2012 the building was recorded by archaeologists. This week’s post takes a brief look at the Normal School building, and some of the results from our investigation of the building from an archaeological point of view.

Examination of a building using archaeological methods has the potential to reveal significant evidence relating to the history of New Zealand and may provide information that cannot be obtained through other means. Four different techniques were used to record the Normal School building; these included the creation of extensive drawn, written and photographic records as well as sampling building fabric for analysis and curation.

The foundations of the Normal School were made from Portland cement concrete and were up to 1.5 m deep and 1.2 m wide. The walls were built from basalt stone from the Halswell Quarry, here in Christchurch. Limestone, probably from a North Canterbury quarry, was used to dress the windows and doorways as well as for the cornices, string courses and copings. During demolition of the building a relatively large number of mason’s marks were observed on carved stones from around the windows and doorways. The marks were on the joint beds and non-visible faces of the stones. 


Some of the stonemason’s marks found on stones from the Normal School building. Image: K. Webb.

Stonemason marks were used for a variety of reasons; as well as identifying individual masons, they were also used to identify masons working under a particular master or workshop and also may have been specific to the building site. Marks were also used to identify how stones fitted together, as shown in this video. Therefore, the marks may not be unique to individual masons, making it difficult to trace masons from one site to another. The use of mason’s marks during the 19th century was probably a revival of medieval traditions and they are still used today by masons who wish to continue the tradition (Alexander 2008). It is unusual to find stonemason’s marks on 19th century buildings in Christchurch, let alone so many different ones.


Drawing of one of the turrets decorating the roof of the Normal School. This drawing is part of a series drawn in 1972. The plans are held at Archives New Zealand.

There were a number of turrets along the ridge of the roof of the Normal School. These were decorative and also formed part of a complex ventilation system in the building. The wooden arch-shaped louvres in the turrets allowed the egress of stale air through the ceiling of the first floor, while fresh air was brought into the building through a system of clay pipes built in to the buttresses that supported the exterior walls. There were also a number of ventilation grates in the south and west exterior walls. The cast iron grates were highly decorative and allowed air flow in the space between the ground floor ceiling and the first floor.


Some of the decorative cast iron ventilation grates found on the south and west walls of the school. Image: K. Webb.

Good ventilation was a matter of some importance in the design of the Normal School building. This concern was demonstrated by a discussion held by Board of Education in 1878 with regard to the lack of ventilation in the existing school school buildings despite the multiple ventilation systems already installed. The poor drainage of the grounds was also a common complaint made by parents of the school children (Star 13/7/1877: 3). We don’t know whether or not this problem was solved .

Ventilation - BOARDS OF EDUCATION. Star , Issue 3158, 23 May 1878, Page 3

Report on a meeting of the Board of Education regarding ventilation at the Normal School. Star, 23/5/1878:3.

When the building was extended to accommodate a kindergarten and training department the style of the addition was quite different from the original building. The carving around the windows and doors was less ornate than in the original structure, although small finely carved spherical label stops and bosses were used to decorate the window sills and arches. Each of these carvings had a different design, usually in the form of a cluster of leaves or flowers as well as birds and critters.


Some of the carved label stops and bosses from the kindergarten extension at the Normal School. Image: K. Webb.


The Montreal Street wing of the Normal School showing the difference in appearance of the original building on the right and the 1879 extension on the left. Image: Dalman Architecture.

Several cost saving measures were employed in the construction of the extension, in addition to the simplicity of the carving. The internal walls were constructed from brick, a cheaper alternative to the stone used for the internal walls in the original part of the building. This also meant that the foundations could be less substantial than those for the original building, and therefore use less concrete. There were no fireplaces in the new kindergarten. Instead, it was heated by a system of pipes that carried heated water throughout the building, so only one boiler needed to be fuelled rather than several fires. So, while no expense was spared in the first phase of construction of the Normal School (a total of £14,269 was spent on the building, not including furnishings), the kindergarten extension was built as cheaply as possible, costing less than £2,700 to build (Star 17/12/1873:3; Press 6/6/1879:3).

Unlike the personal stories of individuals and their families that are told through archaeological investigation of a house, the establishment of a normal school in Christchurch highlights the importance of education within the colony during the 1870s and the preference to train teachers here rather than import trained teachers from the homeland; a normal school was also opened in Dunedin the same year as the Christchurch Normal School. Along with documentary evidence the building can tell us what the key concerns of the Board of Education were when the building was designed, for example construction cost, ventilation, heating and drainage.

This post was just a brief excursion into the Christchurch Normal School, the full archaeological report will be available to view on Quake Studies when it is completed.

Kirsa Webb


Alexander, J. S., 2008. ‘Masons’ Marks and the Working Practices of Medieval Stone Masons’, in P.S. Barnwell and Arnold Pacey, (eds) Who Built Beverley Minster?. [online] Available at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/arthistory/research/staffinterests/ja/masonsmarks/

Archives New Zealand, 1973. CALW CH166 8/14 AC 5222 Christchurch Normal School – Spire base and chimney details. Christchurch Regional Office.

Christchurch City Council, 1982. The Architectural Heritage of Christchurch: 1. The Normal School. Christchurch City Council, Town Planning Division. [online] Available at: http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Heritage/Publications/ChristchurchCityCouncil/ArchitecturalHeritage/NormalSchool/

Illustrated Australian News. [online] Available at: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/5729910?zoomLevel=1

Press. [online] Available at: http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast.

Star. [online] Available at: http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast.

Telling time in days gone by

A little while ago, archaeologist Matt Carter was investigating a brick-lined basement on a site in Christchurch when he came across what turned out to be a small 19th century pocket-watch (below). You can imagine his surprise (and excitement) – artefact finds like this are rare in archaeological excavations, since people tended to hold onto and take care of valuable items like watches (as we do now).


Engraved gilt-metal pocket watch found in a buried basement in Christchurch. This watch is currently on display as part of the Canterbury Museum’s Quake City exhibition. Photo: K. Webb.

Of course, our watch didn’t look quite like this when Matt found it. Although it’s been cleaned carefully since being excavated, the corrosion on the watch means it’s difficult to make out many characteristics that would help us identify it further. What we know so far is that it’s likely to have been gold-plated and it has an engraved fish scale-like pattern on the back and a decorative engraved floral pattern on the gilt face. It’s just possible to distinguish the black enamel numbers on the face. We think that the watch probably used a keyless wound lever mechanism: such mechanisms were introduced to watches during the 1850s and 1860s to replace winding methods that required a separate key to work.

3D CT scan of the pocket watch found on the wreck of the Swan. (Image: National Museums Scotland.)

Computerised tomography (CT) scanning may be able to reveal engraved maker’s marks or manufacturing dates on the watch. This technique has been used successfully for a pocket watch found on the wreckage of the Swan, which sank in 1653 in the Sound of Mull, off the coast of Scotland. The resulting images revealed not only the type of mechanism but also the name of the maker – “Niccholas Higginson, Westminster” – engraved on the back.

Gilt-metal ‘clock watch’ by German watchmaker Peter Henlein, dated c. 1510.  (Image: Wikipedia.)

The first watches evolved after the coiled spring was introduced as an alternative form of motive power to the pendulum. This meant that timepieces no longer needed to be big enough to house the pendulum, but could be made small enough to be carried unobtrusively.

Some of the earliest watches have been attributed to the maker Peter Henlein of Nuremberg. An example of one of his watches is kept at the Germanisches National Museum, Nuremberg, Germany. Dated 1510, this ‘clock watch’ is contained in a gilt metal drum-shaped case with a single hand indicating the time on an engraved gilt metal dial. These early examples were designed to be hung around the neck by a cord rather than carried in the pocket.

Some early examples of watches have been depicted in contemporary paintings such as this untitled painting attributed to Tommaso Manzouli dated c. 1560. (Image: Science & Society Picture Library.)

Around the time of the introduction of pockets to clothing during in the first quarter of the 17th century, when a pocket was a fabric pouch worn underneath your petticoat or tied around your wrist or belt, watches developed into the form we know today in order to be carried in the pocket. The watch was housed in a case and a crystal or glass cover was added to protect the hands and dial.

The site where our watch was found was once the property of Herman Franz Fuhrmann, an affluent German immigrant, who owned the section until his death in 1907. Fuhrmann was an undertaker and cabinet maker and had established himself in Christchurch by 1869, having arrived by way of Melbourne. In 1873 Fuhrmann expanded his business to include a saddler and the following year became involved in the insurance industry. He also made profits buying and selling Molesworth station (in Marlborough).

A newspaper article advertising a watch similar to that found in the Christchurch basement.

From the small size of our watch (just 3 cm in diameter) we know that it was probably owned by a lady. She must have been a lady of some wealth – intricately detailed gilt pocket watches such as this were not cheap, although they were available in Christchurch from at least the 1860s and were advertised in local newspapers of the time.

What we don’t know is why the watch was discarded. Watches such as these were repairable and a quick search of Papers Past indicates that watchmakers were well represented in Christchurch so it is unlikely that it was broken. Was it thrown out deliberately? Was it lost accidentally? These are the kind of questions archaeologists seek to answer every day, to help us better understand the lives of those who came before us.


 Kirsa  Webb