Backyard Historical Archaeology: Unraveling past lives through analyses of the archaeological remains from 26 St. David Street, Dunedin

by Megan Sarah Lawrence

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: Historical Archaeology; Dunedin; Artefact Analysis
Record ID: 1305315
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5408


This research focused on the archaeological remains from the 26 St. David Street site (I44/548) in Dunedin, New Zealand. Although just one site, analyses illustrated that the archaeological remains represent multiple households and businesses from the second half of the nineteenth century into the early twentieth century. The examination of deposits, artefacts and historical records identified depositional processes and chronological timeframes, narrowing down potential contributors to the assemblage. Further analysis of specific artefact types and functions highlighted domestic and commercial activities that occurred at the site, as well as various relationships that formed and occurred within, between and beyond these residential and business spheres of the local neighbourhood. In these relationships and activities, such themes as sanitation and cleanliness, leisure and entertainment, and consumerism were explored. Moreover these investigations, alongside a brief analysis of artefact quality, elucidated how activities, interactions and individual expressions within a low middle- to working-class environment are positioned in regards to underlying roles, ideals and values associated with aspects of individual, household and community identities. The many private and public social interactions were highlighted as being of great importance for this growing and changing North Dunedin community. Furthermore, while natural and cultural formation processes effect what is represented archaeologically, the deposits and their contents provided a look into the regional, national and international processes and frameworks of an industrial world that have shaped the complex webs of past interactions, consumer choices, and daily practices reflected in the 26 St. David Street assemblage.