Archaeological discoveries

We knew before we started that the building site may have archaeological potential and commissioned Austral Archaeology to prepare an archaeological assessment under the Heritage Places Act 1993. 

Excavation revealed the structural remains of an 1838 house, the landscape of the back yard and an area displaying the early phase of brewery construction. Some elements of the Temperance Hotel were also discovered in the excavation area.

The 1838 house

The main body 1838 house had been severely disturbed by the construction of the 20th Century West End Brewery, yet an extensive and revealing complex of structures was discovered in undisturbed areas, including the house walls, cellar with stairs, and numerous ancillary features.

 Detail of the brick stove housing set into the southwestern corner of the cellar. 

1838 house yard and outbuildings

Under the 20th century concrete brewery surface were intact and stratified yard deposits. The deposits revealed a wealth of information about the day to day activity of the occupants of this area. They contained a considerable number of artefacts and told the chronological story of the construction and occupation of the site. Critically, this stratification allows for the seriation of artefacts recovered from within the antique yard surfaces. 

View looking South over the Southernmost extent of the excavated yard surface and showing cesspit as a rectangular feature in the top left of the picture and a well in the bottom right. At the extreme bottom left of the picture can seen the edge of a bottle dump from where a large number of artefacts were received. 

Century West End Brewery

Uncovered in the northwestern corner of the site was an intact 19th century West End Brewery surface. This surface was covered by a thin lens of demolition rubble and included a brick pit, numerous post footings and the remnants of a bluestone boundary wall. The brick pit extended to over a meter in depth and consisted of brick walls and floor with a small sump in the north western corner of the floor. This pit was filled with bluestone rubble and machine parts.

View to the north showing the demolition layer and surface of the early West End Brewery area. Note the two mortar post footings in the bottom right of the photograph.

Recording this part of History

Several items of high significance were discovered and recorded, and large numbers of significant artefacts retrieved and preserved. The result of the excavation is a wealth of data that will contribute to an understanding of early Adelaide and South Australia.

Deeper appreciation of how the first European settlers of Adelaide thought, lived and acted can be gained through the careful analysis and investigation of the material culture recorded at this site. The research questions posed will be comprehensively answered through a full report. Due to the exceptional quality of the data, new and unexpected knowledge regarding the European settlement of South Australia will certainly be gained.

The team is currently sorting through the vast number of artefacts retrieved and the research is due to be complete by mid-2013. The excavated site has been professionally photographed and we intend to display these images together with a collection of artefacts to share part of this story in the Learning Centre.

Areas of study and research

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