19thC Goldmine excavations in New Zealand unearth Victorian era treasures
Released on: November 27, 2007, 12:58 am
Press Release Author: Marks4Antiques.com
Press Release Summary: Pottery & Porcelain evaluations on fragments found in a 19hC New Zealand Goldmine using www.Marks4Antiques.com reveals clues on colonial Victorian everyday life
Press Release Body: San Francisco, California - November 27th, 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 example, another member is exclusively involved in Marine Archeology and has a team of divers that recover ship wrecks! Simply fascinating."
The oldest dated item near the Pumphouse comprises all the pieces of an earthenware plate dating between 1846 - 1854, when the Staffordshire pottery of P. Holdcroft closed. All the pieces of a Grindley Globe Pottery plate with a Waihi Hotel monogram on it, plus many other fragments, were also located. Of particular note were pieces of porcelain crockery dating to about 1912, with a view looking east of Waihi's main street, made by the Victoria Pottery, Austria (Schmidt & Co). Fortunately all the pieces of one side plate were recovered and several other items have been partially reconstructed. The Set appears to have comprised cups & saucers and side plates.
Although the majority of the ceramics are earthenware, some fine porcelain china has also been recovered including Royal Doulton vases. Most of the china collection is dominated by British and other European manufacturers; yet, several fine makers from Japan/Nippon were also identified, as well as items from China and elsewhere in Asia. The majority of pieces for which a period attribution was possible, date ca 1890s - 1930s, though a good number of pre 1890 pieces have also been recovered.
The vast array of material recovered over the past 10 months from Martha Hill is currently in the final stages of analysis. This will allow some insights into domestic and mining matters from early last century.
Accredited media interested in discussing this topic in more detail are encouraged to schedule an interview by sending their request to Contact@Marks4Antiques.com or visit their Web site at Marks4Antique.com
Marks4Antiques.com was created to help Collectors and Dealers to research Antiques & Collectibles. The successful launch of Marks4Ceramics.com in 2004 was quickly followed by Marks4Silver.com in 2006 and then Values4Antiques.com this year. All websites were designed for use online in order to accommodate the growing number of mobile Antiques and Collectibles Dealers that roam the country to different Auctions or Shows and those that sell or buy online (eBay etc). Subscribing to any of the websites provides easy and fast pictorial methods of identifying and self-appraising items. An active member can also contact the experts of each website for personal assistance when a mark is not already in the database at no additional cost. To facilitate an unbiased Antiques Research & Evaluation environment, no Trade (buying or selling) of items is allowed through these sites as they are totally dedicated to Research. All staff are avid Collectors, Appraisers and professional Dealers. The company is owned and operated in the State of California, USA.
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