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UC CEISMIC helps bring Chch archaeology to world attention

UC CEISMIC helps bring Christchurch archaeology to world attention

February 22, 2013

On the second anniversary of the February 22 earthquake, National Geographic has today published a story about Christchurch archaeology on the front page of its website, a site which receives 20 million visitors a month, University of Canterbury (UC) Associate Professor Paul Millar said today.

The story links to archaeological reports held in UC Quakestudies, a UC research repository and part of the University of Canterbury’s CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquake Digital Archive.

These archaeological reports are part of a New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) collection that records and remembers the built heritage of Canterbury prior to the earthquakes, and documents subsequent loss and damage.

He said that it had been rewarding for the UC CEISMIC team to work with NZHPT to make the material publicly available.

``The earthquakes led to an unprecedented number of heritage building demolitions, many in the Christchurch CBD, a known area of pre-1900 occupation. Through CEISMIC and Quakestudies we’re able to share these stories of Canterbury’s historic heritage and NZHPT’s earthquake recovery efforts with the world,’’ Professor Millar said.

The National Geographic today features items such as a 19thcentury doll’s head being unearthed during the demolition of the Zetland Arms Hotel on Cashel Street. Archaeologists were called in to photograph them and document what lay underneath.

What they have found in the last two years—from soda bottles and patent medicine containers to ceramic beer bottles and fragments of clay pipes—is akin to a time capsule from the earliest days of Christchurch, which was settled in the mid-1800s.

``These things have the power to connect us to the people who built our city," said Katharine Watson, director of Underground Overground Archaeology.

Watson's team recovered the doll's head at the site where stables once stood adjacent to the Zetland Arms Hotel on Cashel Street. Built in the early 1860s, and rebuilt between 1901 and 1903 after a fire, the hotel had most recently housed shops and restaurants.

See the ‘Zetland Hotel’ link at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/pictures/130221-christchurch-new-zealand-2011-earthquake-demolition-science-archaeology-artifacts-pictures/

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