Petone retirement village unearths archaeological treasure trove
They say one man's trash is another man's treasure and that could not have been more true when Hutt Valley archaeologist Nicholas Beynon visited the Bob Scott Retirement Village.
Beynon dropped in to view the artefacts that Gary Cox, the construction site manager and Fred Cleaver, site foreman, had saved as they excavated the building site.
The village is built on the site of the former Petone College.
Beynon was "blown away" by the quantity of the artefacts and the care the construction team took.
They noted where the artefacts were unearthed from and at what depth.
"That is very important information," he said.
Cox had three labourers and a digger sifting through the rubble on the river bed.
Items uncovered included part of a gas lantern, a horseshoe and lots of old bottles, including one for lung powder.
"It's not easy getting a digger operator to be delicate," Cox said.
Beynon said you cpi;d only estimate the age of horseshoes but with bottles you could get their age down to two or three years.
Some of the bottles looked to be from the mid-19th century and many were local to the Wellington region.
As well as the bottles, parts of teapots, ceramic and china, there was also a wheel thought to be from a Model T Ford and various blacksmith tools.
Beynon will talk to other archeologists about the find and planned to contact Heritage NZ.
The items were found in one area, which was most likely once a rubbish dump.
The find was significant for the Hutt area and he had now begun the painstaking clean up of the items.
"It takes a lot of time to sort through everything; a find of this size will take a couple of months."
Some of the items will be gifted to the Petone Settlers Museum so they remain close to the community they originated from.