Beautiful Death – coffin decorations in colonial NZ

Today's blog post comes from Dr. Peter Petchey, our excavation co-director and expert historical archaeologist. Here he tells us about the Victorian penchant for making death beautiful, and what coffin decorations can tell us about the past. It is trite but true that the dead don’t bury themselves. Even if the deceased left instructions, it … Continue reading Beautiful Death – coffin decorations in colonial NZ

Making Microhistories – New Funding for Prof. Hallie Buckley

This week we're celebrating success at Southern Cemeteries Archaeology. Our excavation co-director Prof. Hallie Buckley has just received a two-year James Cook fellowship from the Royal Society/ Te Apārangi to conduct in-depth study of the skeletons, and archival research relating to the project. Prof. Hallie Buckley, co-director of our excavations and recipient of one of … Continue reading Making Microhistories – New Funding for Prof. Hallie Buckley

Chinese whispers: The lure of gold during the 1800s

Today's post is the start of our 'Chinese Whispers' series giving insight into the life of the Chinese in Otago, written by Les and Maisie Wong from the Otago and Southland Chinese Association. Les and Maisie, as representatives of descendants of the Chinese goldminers, are sources of massive amounts of genealogical, cultural and historical knowledge. … Continue reading Chinese whispers: The lure of gold during the 1800s

Victorian diagnoses – medical complexities and vagueries

Seven medical conditions humourously illustrated. Reproduction of an etching. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY One of the advantages of working on archaeology from the colonial period is that we have historical records that help us to interpret what we're seeing in the bones, teeth and artefacts associated with people. Some of the most useful things for those … Continue reading Victorian diagnoses – medical complexities and vagueries

Fun with archaeological maps!

Today's blog comes from Alana Kelly, one of our archaeological volunteers on site, who more-often-than-not was given the job of mapping in the features we found. Today she tells us all about how our archaeological maps were drawn and why they're important! An important part of any archaeological excavation is recording and mapping. While most … Continue reading Fun with archaeological maps!

Miasmas in Milton – a colony beset by respiratory diseases

'there is always a damp vapour arising [in Tokomairiro], highly prejudicial to the health of the inmates, and especially the children’ Francis MacBean Stewart (1875) Milton in the 1870s was not the healthiest place to be. Dr. Frances MacBean Stewart the local medical officer of Health can be found deploring the high death rates in … Continue reading Miasmas in Milton – a colony beset by respiratory diseases