Residential Excavation Uncovers Past


An archaeological excavation on the corner of Margaret and Balfour Streets in West Launceston has uncovered some interesting finds.

The excavation was conducted by Southern Archaeology in June this year in preparation for development of the site. It was hoped that the excavation would shed light on the location of the first Wesleyan chapel in this area, the exact site of which is unknown.

The excavated area was found to be the site of a c. 1840s dwelling originally owned by Isaac Sherwin (1804-1869), a notable local businessman and Wesleyan. 

Features from the original dwelling that were recorded during the 4-day excavation included a fireplace base and bearer supports. Over 700 artefacts were also recorded and notable finds included fragments of Chinese hand painted porcelain (c. pre 1840) and other early ceramics, clay pipe stems with makers marks dating to the 1800s (including a rare example by French maker Dutel Gisclon in a Ottaman chilbouque style), a King George IV 1820-1830 coin, a Victorian coin dating to 1846, hand wrought square shank nails and a complete late 1900s stoneware ginger beer bottle.

This excavation was completed in anticipation of a townhouse development at the site. The archaeological potential of the site having now been realised; the construction of the townhouses can now begin.

It is intended that the artefacts will be stored and displayed on-site as part of the build. Southern Archaeology is currently in the process analysing and compiling the results and writing the Final Excavation Report, a copy of which will be lodged with Heritage Tasmania as part of the historical record for this place.

Content and images courtesy of Southern Archaeology


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