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Recent excavations of the cellar of a Georgian coffeehouse in Cambridge, UK have uncovered many hundreds of artefacts related to the business and it's customers. The works took place ahead of building works by St John’s College, Cambridge. Archaeologist Craig Cessford, from Cambridge University’s archaeology unit stated that “coffeehouses were important social centres during the 18th century, but relatively few assemblages of archaeological evidence have been recovered and this is the first time that we have been able to study one in such depth" through the artefacts recovered, which ranged from tea and servingware to remnants of calves feet used to make jelly for patrons.

For more information, see: www.theguardian.com/science/



Bronwyn Woff

This month’s Artefact of the Month an interesting looking bulk ink bottle with multiple impressed marks found on its body and base. This bottle was found on a historic excavation in the north of Melbourne’s CBD. It was excavated during works for a multi-story apartment building, from a c1850s+ light industrial site.


The ink bottle is made from stoneware, with a light brown salt glaze, and has an unusual square-shaped finish and spout. It stands 205mm tall, and has a diameter of 90mm. The bottle is well marked, with two makers marks (17 / DOULTON / LAMBETH and 3 / DOULTON / LAMBETH) on the base and on the body near the base respectively, as well as a registration diamond (IV / 28 / 9 Rd V / W) representing 28 March 1876 on the body near the base.

The two Doulton / Lambeth marks on the base and body of the bottle indicate that it was made by Doulton & Co. The company began as a partnership in the early 1800s, and worked from a pottery in Lambeth. From 1854 the company became Doulton and Co, and began using marks similar to those seen on this artefact. The company was granted a Royal Warrant in 1901, and from 1902 began adding ‘Royal’ to their mark, as well as a crown and lion (http://thepotteries.org/allpotters/356.htm).


Registration diamond marks such as these were used to denote that the design of an object, or the design of the decoration (for example, ceramic or textile patterns) were copyrighted to the designer. The diamond itself notes the date that the registration occurred, and therefore marks only a start date for that object. For more information on registration diamonds on ceramics, see A. Brooks An Archaeological Guide to British Ceramics in Australia 1788-1901 2005:74 which was published by The Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology and The La Trobe University Archaeology Program (although out-of-print, the complete book is available as a download for all current ASHA members through the members portal HERE).



Jessie Garland and Angel Trendafilov, Underground Overground Archaeology

Angel Trendafilov, of Underground Overground Archaeology, has been monitoring the bulk out of the new Convention Centre in Christchurch with the assistance of Kirsa Webb, Tristan Wadsworth, Teri Anderson, Hamish Williams and Peter Mitchell. The site, which was home to a variety of commercial, professional and residential activities in the 19th century, has yielded a large (and still growing) artefact assemblage, several brick lined and artesian wells (see below image), a large number of rubbish pits, and structural features.


Many of the artefacts date to the 1840s-1860s period, suggesting that at least some of the material found may be associated with the early decades of European settlement in Christchurch. The assemblage contains a wide range of artefact types, including several unusual clay smoking pipes, elaborately decorated glass vessels and uncommon ceramics.


Notable artefacts so far include: an early 19th century imitation Mason's jug; a Price and Co. Bear's Grease pot lid; and an imitation engraved Batavian ware dish (see above image).

     

We have also uncovered a French clay pipe with a moulded Native American figure on the bowl (see above image) and a floor tile made by Jackson and Bishop, one of the earliest large scale brick making companies in Christchurch (see below image).


We don't yet know whether the artefact assemblages relate to the residential, commercial or professional uses of the site, but it is worth mentioning that there was a fancy goods store and an auctioneers among the many occupants crammed on to these sections in the 1860s and 1870s.


 

For more information about the archaeology of Christchurch, check out the Underground Overground Archaeology blog "Christchurch Uncovered" at:  http://blog.underoverarch.co.nz/

Artefact images: Jessie Garland
Excavation images: Hamish Williams