Our lost heritage recorded

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 14:27 22/02/2013
A 19th century doll's head
Jessie Garland
ARTEFACT: A 19th century doll's head was found in Cashel St.

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The story of how Christchurch's earthquakes helped unearth several artefacts from the 19th century is being told on National Geographic's website today.

On the second anniversary of the February 22, 2011 earthquake, National Geographic has published a story on its website about what archaeologists have found in the city since the earthquakes.

A 19th century doll's head, part of a leather shoe, broken bottles, a ceramic bottle and a child's tea cup are among some of the items shown.

National Geographic reports a doll's head was found at the site where stables once stood beside the Zetland Arms Hotel in Cashel St. "Judging from details such as its hairstyle, the doll was likely made in Germany.

University of Canterbury associate professor Paul Millar said the article linked to archaeological reports held at the university as part of a New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) collection.

The reports record Canterbury's heritage prior to the earthquakes, and document subsequent loss and damage.

''The earthquakes led to an unprecedented number of heritage building demolitions, many in the Christchurch CBD, a known area of pre-1900 occupation,'' Millar said.

He said what they have found in the last two years - from soda bottles and patent medicine containers to ceramic beer bottles and fragments of clay pipes - was akin to a time capsule from the earliest days of Christchurch, which was settled in the mid-1800s.

He described reading all the findings as ''quite addictive''.

''It's funny all the things that turn up.''

Millar said the trust contracted Underground Overground Archaeology to photograph and document items.

Underground Overground Archaeology director Katharine Watson said, ''These things have the power to connect us to the people who built our city.''

Watson's team recovered the doll's head, shown on the wesbite, at the site where stables once stood adjacent to the Zetland Arms Hotel in Cashel St.

Built in the early 1860s, and rebuilt between 1901 and 1903 after a fire, the hotel had most recently housed shops and restaurants.

Millar said it was great National Geographic had picked up on the work as it would help share Christchurch's story with millions of people.

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- The Press

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