Hole mystery uncovered under boarding hostel

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 09/02/2013

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Excavators have exposed a hole more than six metres deep after demolishing Shand House at Craighead Diocesan School.

The well-like hole is conical in shape with a 4.5m diameter and was possibly used as emergency water storage for fire fighting.

It had been filled in and the boarding hostel built on top.

Craighead School's acting principal, Wayne Pahl, said the hole was a fascinating bit of the history of the school, which he was looking forward to finding out more about. The school had not found any information referring to the pit.

"It must have been hidden for 70 to 80 years," Mr Pahl said.

Now architects for the rebuild are working on how to incorporate the well-like find into the new designs.

Rushton Architects senior draughtsman Dallas Redhead said he was surprised at how big the hole was.

In his 18 years in the industry he had never come across such a vast pit.

Underground Overground Archaeology archaeologist Katharine Watson said the find was unusual and bigger than what was ordinarily found.

Her job would now entail research to try to find out more information through old news-papers and council files.

She said because it was not known when it had been filled in, artefacts which might be found in the soil would be hard to date as they might have been thrown in at a later date.

In an earlier find, what architects and the Historic Places Trust believed to be the original homestead entrance of Shand House, turned out to be part of a second residence built hard against the original.

The unexpected finds will not delay the rebuild, which is due to be completed within two years.

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- The Timaru Herald

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