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Melbourne Museum

Lid - Hair Oil, Ceramic, circa 1880 Archaeology Reg. No: LL 075920

This lid was excavated at one of the digs conducted at the Commonwealth Block site between 1988 and 2003. It would have closed a pot or jar of bear grease hair oil.

Health and hygiene.
'Cleanliness is next to Godliness'. This is a difficult maxim to follow when 'there is not one bath in sixty', when sewerage gathers in cesspits and open drainage channels line the streets.But the residents of Little Lon did practice personal hygiene. Archaeologists have uncovered toothbrushes and toothpaste pots, scent bottles, soap dishes, combs and hairbrushes.
Clean teeth and neat hair did not guarantee good health however. Doctors were expensive, so ordinary people had to rely on medicines like Holloway's Ointment and Hall's Vegetable Pain Conqueror as well as Chinese herbal remedies. Children were dosed weekly with the laxative castor oil, to keep their bowels regular.
Pot lid of bear grease hair oil jar. Two bears, one seated and one walking on all fours occur below branches of two trees near edge of cliff. Transfer print is polychrome. Lid top diameter 90mm, base lid diameter 86mm, height 18mm.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Heritage Victoria, 2005
Discipline: Archaeology - Historical
Dimensions: 15 mm (Height), 90 mm (Width)
Dimension Comment: Width = Diameter

More information

Tagged with: making history - little lonsdale street
Themes this item is part of: Little Lon, Little Lon Collection
On Display at: Melbourne Museum
Primary Classification: HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGY
Activity: domestic
Trench Unit Number: 18/26/34
Inscriptions: None

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