Search the collections
Refine your search
Filter results by item type
Royal Exhibition Building Western Forecourt Collection
Image: Western Forecourt Archaeological Dig Site During Excavation, Melbourne, November 2009
Source: Museum Victoria
The Royal Exhibition Building Western Forecourt Collection consists of 1,566 artefacts excavated during an archaeological dig of the western forecourt of the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, in November 2009. A majority of the artefacts were recovered from nightsoil deposits on the site, which were particularly rich in ceramics, glass and food refuse. Further artefacts were recovered from immediately below the crushed rock base of the circular driveway, which was constructed on the site for the Melbourne International Exhibition, 1880-1881.
The western forecourt was an integral part of the palace garden setting designed by architect Joseph Reed for the Melbourne International Exhibition, 1880-1881. At the opening of the Exhibition the forecourt featured a circular garden of informally planted garden beds and a central kiosk, around which a carriageway led to the western entrance of the building.
The archaeological dig investigated and recorded evidence of the 1880 iteration of the western forecourt garden in order to inform its reconstruction as part of Museum Victoria's World Heritage, World Futures project. The dig also recorded evidence of various incarnations of the site over time, prior to its conversion into an asphalt car park in the 1950s. Heritage consultants Godden Mackay Logan undertook the excavation in conjunction with the archaeology program at La Trobe University.
The artefact collection provides evidence of nightsoil deposited in the Carlton Gardens prior to 1879. Although the source of the nightsoil is as general as 19th century domestic, commercial and/or industrial discard from Melbourne and surrounds, the collection contains many artefacts of historical significance and interest. Artefacts include oyster shells and butchered meat bones, clay pipes, ceramics, wine and beer bottles, building materials including glass panes and wire nails, personal grooming and hygiene items, buttons, ornaments and even a harmonica.
Items per page: 10 50 (showing 11 - 20) 1566 items
One piece of a white-glazed earthenware plate rim with unidentified moulded design that is typical of 'White Granite'. Appears to be high-fired earthenware. Manufactured between the 18 ...Images: 1
One fragment of earthenware base, probably from a plate. Pattern is dark blue transfer-printed 'Asiatic Pheasants', popular in the second half of the 19th century and into Edwardian tim ...Images: 1
One earthenware plate rim fragment. Pattern is blue transfer print 'Willow'. Manufacturing date range is circa 1805 to circa 1900.Images: 1
Two earthenware fragments from two separate items, probably a plate. Pattern is blue transfer print 'Willow'. Manufacturing date range is circa 1805 to circa 1900.Images: 1
One earthenware rim fragment from a cup or mug. Decoration is violet transfer print in an unidentified pattern. Manufacture date is circa 1814 to circa mid-20th century.Images: 2
Four conjoining fragments of porcelain saucer rim. The decoration is light blue applied rose and thistle sprig. The manufacture date range is circa 1820 to the late 19th century. Porce ...Images: 1
One earthenware saucer rim fragment with hand painted under glaze banded decoration in red and green (two thin red bands with a slightly thicker green band on either side). Made after c ...Images: 1
Brown bakelite hair comb with teeth missing. Bakelite was the first totally synthetic plastic and was first manufactured in 1907.Images: 1
One earthenware cup rim fragment with hand painted under glaze banded decoration in red and green (one thick red band with thin green bands on either side on the outer surface and a thi ...Images: 1
This type of ware was first produced in England around the 1830s and then the USA by the 1840s. The peak of production was the 1860s-1870s and popularity declined at the turn of the cen ...Images: 1