19thC Goldmine excavations in New Zealand unearth Victorian era treasures Pottery & Porcelain evaluations on fragments found in a 19hC New Zealand Goldmine using www.Marks4Antiques.com reveals clues on colonial Victorian everyday life
News-Antique.com - Nov 26,2007 - Photo Caption-- Shards of Victorian era porcelain, pottery and glass recovered from the Martha Goldmine at Waihi in the North Island of New Zealand
San Francisco, California - November 26th, 2007 - The Martha Goldmine at Waihi in the North Island of New Zealand was a major producer of gold and silver between 1888 when mining commenced and 1952 when the mine closed. The Pumphouse structure was classified as a building of national significance by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in the 1970s.
Due to land instability, the Cornish Pumphouse was in danger of catastrophic collapse and it was leaning 2 feet out of perpendicular and increasing. The
decision was taken in late 2005 to shift the Pumphouse to a safe location by cutting off the Pumphouse some 4 meters (13ft) below the ground surface.
Using concrete slider beams capped with steel and stainless steel sheeting, the 1,800 tons was suspended using hydraulic flat jacks sitting on Teflon
pads with lots of lubricant, then pulled with horizontal hydraulic rams. The shift involved some 30 meter (approx. 30 yards) southward move then a 300
meter (approx. 300 yards) westward trip to the new site.
As a condition of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust archaeological consent for the relocation, archaeological monitoring, investigating and recording was undertaken along the south side of the hill. Starting in January 2006, a series of archaeological investigations have taken place associated with the relocation of the Cornish Pumphouse. These investigations that also included excavations around the Pumphouse, were performed by consultant archaeologist Ray Hooker of Arcsearch Consultancy Tauranga, New Zealand, assisted by local man Ian Keys – see: http://www.marthamine.co.nz/14_11_06.htm. A varied array of old mining related gear, both tools and machinery pieces were recovered. A trash pit from this site yielded almost exclusively spirits and painkiller bottles, one still full of Aspros!
Cleaning, sorting and cataloguing of the collection of material recovered took many weeks. Nearly 5,200 pieces of domestic material have been inventoried. These include dozens of tin match boxes dating from 1895 to World War I, a silver sovereign keeper, used to store half and full sovereigns (unfortunately empty), pocket watches, metal tins of various sorts, ornaments and a printers negative plate for a 1900 calendar, to name some of the metal material recovered. A whole range of bottles from late 19th century to the 1940s includes some intact early bottles. Bottle manufacturers included British, Australian, American and New Zealand makers.
However, the largest collection of material consists of ceramics, mainly tableware. Some were intact or almost whole, but the vast majority was in fragments. Many had identifying makers’ marks and classifying these items proved time consuming and at times frustrating as some 50 manufacturers have
been identified so far, mainly with the help of Marks4Antiques.com (www.Marks4Antiques.com).
“In addition to Antiques professionals like Appraisers, Auctioneers or Antiques Dealers, we were surprised to know that many of our members come from the Academic arena or are professional Archeologists,” says Lisa Marion of Marks4Antiques.com. “For