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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 21 - 30) 1566 items
One bright-green glass, bottle-base fragment. Has been manufactured in a mould that had a separate base plate. Broad manufacture date range of mid-19th century to circa 1900.Images: 1
One light-green glass, bottle-base fragment. Has been manufactured in a mould that had a separate base plate. Broad manufacture date range of mid-19th century to circa 1900.Images: 1
One fragment from an unidentified item. Decoration is transfer print of an unidentified pattern in green. Earliest date of manufacture is circa 1818.Images: 1
One medium-green glass, bottle-base fragment. Has a tiny fragment of a maker's mark, but is insufficient for identification. Has been manufactured in a mould that had a separate base pl ...Images: 1
One fragment of the neck and finish of a medium green glass beer or wine bottle. The finish has an applied string rim and the finish, including lip, has been tooled (and possibly flamed ...Images: 2
One high-fired earthenware fragment from an unidentified item. Decorated with an unidentified moulded design that is typical of 'White Granite'. Manufactured between the 1840s and circa ...Images: 1
By the 1830s, pressed tablewares were being mass-produced and from the 1870s pressing had become the most common manufacturing technique for cheaper tablewares.Images: 1
One complete base of a small (25.3mm diameter) glass bottle, probably a medicine or perfume bottle. The bottle has been manufactured in a multi-part mould with a separate base plate. Sm ...Images: 3
One earthenware rim fragment probably from a saucer. Decoration is blue flow ware in an unidentified Chinoiserie pattern. Manufacture date after circa 1835.Images: 1
One dark-green glass bottle base fragment. Has a conical pushup with a feint impression or ridge part way up and pointed indentation at the apex that is typical of bottles made using a ...Images: 2