19thC Goldmine excavations in New Zealand unearth Victorian era treasures

Released on: November 27, 2007, 12:58 am

Press Release Author: Marks4Antiques.com

Industry: Media

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

"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

About Marks4Antiques.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.

Web Site: http://www. Marks4Antiques.com

Contact Details: 16 Heath Place
Garden City, New York
11530 US

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