During the archaeological investigations at Drybread we are not just looking at the cemetery, but we are also looking for evidence of the places where these people lived and worked: the Drybread Diggings. Drybread was a small goldfields canvas town that like many others sprang into existence in the early 1860s during the Otago Goldrushes, … Continue reading The Search for Drybread
This week we have an article out in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology looking at reconstructing the lives of the St. John's, Milton individuals using isotopic analysis. In this post we explain how we do this kind of analysis, and give you some of the highlights of the article. In previous posts I've talked … Continue reading Reconstructing Milton life using tooth, bone and hair chemistry
How and what we feed our children depends on a whole lot of different factors. It follows fashions, medical knowledge of the time and depends on the availability of different foods. We can learn a lot about childhood diet just by looking at or analysing teeth. In this blog post we look at the archaeological … Continue reading Teething problems?
Historically, children have been very much ignored by archaeologists, and stories of little lives are often not told. But we know that the lives of children touch the lives of the whole community, and so whatever we can find out about them is important. Because their bones and teeth are so delicate we're often limited … Continue reading Two sisters from St. John’s?
Today, in Blog 2 of our Little Lives series, Prof. Hallie Buckley, one of our co-directors, talks about how we've been looking at the children of St John's Burial Ground, Milton, and what can they tell us about the community... At the St John’s burial ground in Milton we found a number of graves of … Continue reading St John’s babes in arms
Today we begin our Little Lives blog series for New Zealand Archaeology week. Welcome! Come and join us as we shine a light on the children of colonial times, whose stories so often don't get told in the history books... Today Dr. Peter Petchey starts us off with some insight into the children in burial … Continue reading Children in the Archaeological Record
This story is a tale of research woes. We like to pretend everything goes to plan in our studies, but sometimes the archaeology doesn't want to play along... Lead is a really important element in human history. Very early on we realised that it was a useful metal for us, it was nice and soft … Continue reading Lead astray by burial practices
Today's blog is another from our excavation co-director and expert historical archaeologist Dr. Peter Petchey. Here he tells us more about the decorated coffins and how sometimes help in visualising the past comes from unexpected places... A previous blog entry looked at Victorian funerals and the decoration that was sometimes applied to coffins. As I … Continue reading Shopping for coffin decorations – how TradeMe helped us visualise colonial funerals
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
In this project we’re interested in building up a picture of colonial people’s lives using their biology. But how are we actually doing that I hear you ask? In this series of blogs we’ll be looking at the techniques our group are using to get to the bottom of things. Or throw up more questions … Continue reading It’s all about chemistry!