19th-Century Artifacts Found in New Zealand

19th-Century Artifacts Found in New Zealand

19th-Century Artifacts Found in New Zealand

An intact shoe, a Chilean peso from 1853 and even a former vegetable plot have been unearthed in one of the biggest archaeological digs in New Zealand.

19th-Century Artifacts Found in New Zealand
A Chilean peso dating from 1853 was one of the thousands of old items found under a central Christchurch rebuild site.

Archaeologists have been working for three months to unearth hidden treasures beneath the site of the planned Te Kaha arena, which stretches over three blocks in central Christchurch.

They have found thousands of 19th-century items, which have filled 170 boxes, including remnants of brick chimney places, a former potato bed, earthenware drainage pipes and old rubbish pits.

Principal archaeologist Clara Watson said the finds would give fresh insight into how Christchurch people lived in the 19th century.

A clay pipe discovered beneath the site for the planned Te Kaha arena site in central Christchurch.

“They are really well-preserved archaeological features that we would not normally find,” she said.

“We’ve discovered landscaping features, drainpipes for gardens, garden rows and house pilings. A lot of the time we don’t find these sorts of things as they’re usually wiped out.”

She said the rubbish pits contained ornate clay pipes, bottles and ceramic toothpaste and cold cream pots.

“This would be one of the biggest archaeological digs in New Zealand.

A ceramic pot of cold cream was one of thousands of items discovered.

“I just feel really privileged to run a project this large. I am really excited for when we get back to the office and go through everything we have found and pull out those stories.”

The three blocks were largely residential in the 19th century. Watson said they chose to investigate sites that were largely undisturbed and mainly used for car parking since the original 19th-century home was demolished.

The size of the site meant they could compare how different people lived in different periods of Christchurch history.

A ceramic pot of cherry-flavoured toothpaste was also unearthed.

The finds are the latest to be discovered beneath rebuild sites in central Christchurch. In March, hundreds of leather shoes, an ornate clay pipe and intact gin bottles were discovered beneath the site of the planned new Court Theatre.

The treasure trove uncovered beneath a layer of gravel on the corner of Gloucester and Colombo streets included metal belt buckles, soda water bottles, marbles, grocery store tokens, and shards of decorative plates.

In June, an intact chamber pot, an ornate salad oil bottle, and century-old “Frozen Charlotte” porcelain dolls were during an archaeological dig on an empty site on the corner of Tuam St and Oxford Tce.

Historical relics from the 1850s were found under the Christchurch city centre site. Thousands of historical relics have been discovered beneath a central Christchurch site after sitting undisturbed for 170 years.

The archaeologists also found brick foundations, numerous Victorian rubbish pits, hundreds of intact glass bottles, and a corrugated fence line.

The Chilean peso discovered on the Te Kaha arena site was a mystery, Watson said.

“We have no idea how that has ended up in Christchurch.”

Many intact bottles were unearthed on the site.