Archaeological landscapes are not static entities. Natural and cultural processes such as erosion, sea level rise, mining, and urban development are constantly reshaping the world around us. This has implications for the way we manage, excavate, and interpret the archaeological record. Through the use of historical maps, aerial imagery, and modern mapping software it is possible track how landscapes have changed through time. This talk will provide some examples of this analysis both from Victoria, Australia, and New Zealand.
A huge array of artefacts were found on the site of London and Paris House, an 1860s-1870s fancy goods store in Christchurch, in 2017. The assemblage contains a fascinating array of objects not often seen in the domestic archaeological record and provides a rare window into the material culture of a retail space, a commercial perspective on shopping and consumer choice. It is also one of the case studies from my thesis, which looks at the availability and use of goods in nineteenth-century Christchurch, New Zealand, particularly how much control people had over their shopping choices and how much was shaped by the cultural and economic worlds in which they lived.
Barracks Park (also known as St George’s Park) in Hulme, central Manchester, England, was excavated as part of the Dig Greater Manchester community archaeology project in July 2013. The park was seen as a key site for the project since it contained the remains of Hulme Barracks, a 19th century cavalry base established in 1792 and closed in 1915 that was used during the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. It was also a class of military site that had been little studied within North West England, being used as a base for both for policing the local industrial population and recruiting them for the British Army. The early history of the barracks is poorly recorded but between 1817 and 1895 the barracks were occupied by twenty-seven regiments in succession. This podcast looks at the background history of the site, especially its role in the Peterloo protest and massacre, the surviving remains as excavated in 2013 by the Dig Greater Manchester community archaeology project, and the wider context of this 19th century military type site.
The global gold rush of the mid-nineteenth century is the stuff of legend and romantic nostalgia. It was also a time of unprecedented environmental crises. Archaeological research in Victoria, Australia, has uncovered new evidence of a forgotten catastrophe. Thick layers of alluvium on floodplains are the consequence of unregulated dumping of industrial waste and rivers that ran thick with sludge for two generations. The story of how it got there and what was done to stop it is a lesson of hope, persistence, and the triumph of community activism.