Australia

Bennetts Lane Development Reveals CBD Archaeological Treasures

Professor Andrew May, a historian at the University of Melbourne, said: “This is completely unexpected and unexpected.

“Look around you. This is the modern metropolis of the 21st century. There are actually still blocks that tell us things we didn’t know before: Melbourne’s history, early settlements and landscape.” I am finding it. Extraordinary.”

Visitors to the site can see the remains of two bluestone gold rush era cottages built in the 1840s. The cottage is complete with a cesspit and backyard where cows and chickens were raised and vegetables were grown.

Both cottages have two nearly perfectly preserved red brick fireplaces. Besides the houses, thousands of artifacts have been found, including belt buckles, bottles, cosmetics, pipes, toys, plates and animal bones.

The traditional owners of Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung are also involved in identifying a small number of indigenous cultural relics as stone silkreet flakes.

A large number of bottles were found buried at the scene.credit:Eddie Jim

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After the original cottage was demolished and reclaimed by order of the council, tenements were built on the site in the 1850s to house the city’s poorest residents and craftsmen such as Chinese cabinet makers. was also excavated.

By 1913, most but one of the buildings on the site were demolished after being denounced as “slums”. They were eventually replaced by warehouses and workshops, which remained until demolition of the new Bennetts Lane office building began several years ago.

“Perhaps the people who migrated during the gold rush took other jobs in the growing city of Melbourne,” said Extent Heritage chief Ian Travers, who undertook the excavation. . on behalf of the developer.

Aerial view of the excavation site.

Aerial view of the excavation site.credit:heritage scope

“The socio-economic condition of this part of the city [is] That’s probably one of the reasons why the archeology is so well preserved, because there wasn’t much pressure to develop it. ”

There will be another month for the public to pass by and view the site before excavations are completed and all artifacts are torn apart and placed in storage to make way for some of the new office towers’ basements. There is only one.

Some of the found bluestones and wood will be displayed on the ground floor of the new building, while the rest will be stored at Heritage Victoria, which has the potential to recreate the cottage elsewhere.

A rendering of the Bennetts Lane development, a 20-story, 12,000-square-meter office building on the corner of Little Lonsdale and Bennetts Lane.

A rendering of the Bennetts Lane development, a 20-story, 12,000-square-meter office building on the corner of Little Lonsdale and Bennetts Lane.credit:Perri Projects & Pellicano

Jeremy Smith, chief archaeologist at Heritage Victoria, said the site was discovered too late for heritage preservation to be preserved as an excavation or should be preserved under glass in a new building’s foyer. I was. However, he said he hopes the other “buried blocks” will be physically preserved in some way in the future.

“It’s challenging, but not impossible,” he said.

Free public tours of the site and pop-up artifact displays will be open to the public on August 6th and 13th. Reservations are possible. here.

Bennetts Lane Development Reveals CBD Archaeological Treasures

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