Home » Posts tagged 'Archaeology'
Tag Archives: Archaeology
It was a busy and successful weekend with the archaeology students from the University of Otago Anthropology Society. On Saturday 14th March Archaeologist Peter Petchey and 13 students excavated two 2 metre x 2 metre areas to find the corners of the entrance-way in the Larnach-era building that once enclosed the south side of the farmstead. This is where the previous Nyhon woolshed once stood, so it was expected to find quite a bit of disturbance, but there was surviving evidence of the old buildings still on site. The group found stone lines and the two interior corners of the entrance-way into the farmyard. They also cleared out the drains around the byre, which were clogged since they were last cleared by OAS students about two years ago.
On Sunday 15th March Peter and four students worked at Stewarts cottage. They dug out a considerable amount of sheep droppings from the interior of the original section of the cottage and removed a couple of sheep cadavers. They also put up netting to try to stop sheep getting in again.
The Hereweka Trust have recently deconstructed the small barn used as an early 20th century woolshed at the Larnach’s farmstead on the Hereweka site. The work was undertaken by local contractor John Clearwater from Clearwater Civil and supervising archaeologist Peter Petchey. While it was sad to see the building go, the building had reached a state of such disrepair its retention and conservation were almost impossible. From the deconstruction the Trust were able to ascertain that the building was;
- probably not part of the original Larnach-period and was constructed in the early 20th century.
- its construction was a mixture of timbers (including imported hardwoods, a small amount of pit-sawn natives, milled rimu and milled pine).
- some of the material had been “cobbled together” from other buildings.
- very little of the material was sound enough for reuse, though some may be used as seating in the future.
A full archaeological report will follow the work and this information helps the Trust develop further understanding of the use of the site both during and after the Larnach period. Some of that will help form part of the later interpretation for visitors to the site.
Dairy farming around Harbour Cone declined in the early 1900s. The Nyhon family bought out the small farms down in Smiths Gully, as well as the Larnach Model Farm on Camp Road. The amalgamated farms gave the Nyhon family 250-300 acres, with their best road access being at Camp Road, rather than Highcliff Road.
Larnach’s Camp Road farmstead was not ideal for a shearing shed and associated yards as they sit precariously on a small flat section of steep hillside. The small barn was eventually built into two-stand shearing shed around 1910. The back wall had been supported by massive natural posts, which were two stories high, with corrugated iron cladding to protect the supporting bank. Today, the posts are now rotten hollow shells, the cladding sheets dropping off in chunks, and the central roof beam broken in two places.
The Hereweka Trust is in the process of deconstructing the little shearing shed, with detailed recording at all stages. While making his first drawings and measurement of the building, consultant archaeologist Peter Petchey, came across eight wool bale stencils, tucked neatly away on a top plate since the shed was last used in the 1990s. They are an interesting find and provide an insight into the move from dairying into sheep farming.
On a blustery day punctuated by a few showers, students from the Otago University Anthropology Society worked at the Rogers farmstead on Hereweka today. With expertise provided by archaeologist Dr Peter Petchey, the team mapped the byre, barn, house and surrounding farm structures. The largely intact but heavily modified byre has a beautiful brick floor and stalls that would have been part of the Rogers’ family dairy operation. One of the tasks of the Society was to produce a floor plan of this building that would give the Hereweka Trust a better understanding of its historical use.
The work of the Society members is invaluable to the Trust. It provides further insight into the farming activities and the lives of the families that settled and worked in the Hereweka landscape. The Trust are looking forward to having the students visit the area again and are excited about what more they can tell us about this site.
When you run an outdoor walking event there are always those last-minute doubts that play on your mind. Is the course too hard? Will anyone turn up? Will the weather be an absolute pig? Well the Hereweka Harbour Cone Trust didn’t have to worry about any of those things as Sunday dawned beautifully fine and clear for our inaugural Hereweka Hike. The Trust were delighted to have 200 excited and eager walkers of all ages take the opportunity to explore an area of the Otago Peninsula that is an absolute gem. With a fine hot day there were plenty of walking packs filled with water and liberal use of sunscreen to get people through the 6.5 and 11.5 kilometre courses. The public response to the Hike was overwhelming and the trust thoroughly enjoyed sharing Hereweka with everyone. A special thanks to CRT for the marker posts and Jane Ashman for providing parking at Bacon Street. This is the first event that the Trust has held at Hereweka and we are looking forward to holding more of them in the future. The hike really opened up people’s eyes to the scenery, history and opportunity that the property provides for Dunedin. Many thanks to everyone and we’re glad you enjoyed your time with us, see you all next year! (Click on the pictures to view full size)