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Historic Haul Hoped for in Russell

Archaeologists from the Department of Conservation are hoping for a huge haul of historic goodies dating back to the earliest European settlement of Russell when they begin work investigating the Blomfield property. This is located near Russell waterfront behind the DoC information centre.

Blomfield House, a bungalow style home, was built in 1930 and was purchased from the Blomfield family by the Crown in the 1980s. It is being moved to another site and will be renovated by new owners. The property will then be developed as a carpark.

Whangarei-based archaeologist James Robinson said a small group of six people would begin work this week by examining the area that will be disturbed when the house is removed. "This is just preliminary work at this stage but our findings will provide directions for the main excavation which is scheduled to take place in February 2000," Mr Robinson said.

Archaeologists are particularly interested in excavating the property because it is one of the last pieces of land in the area that has remained relatively unmodified since the 19th century. It is known to have contained an early store and cottage and the well associated with them. . "What is exciting about the area is that we are expecting to find a lot of artifacts dating back to the early 1800s relating to the first European settlement of Kororareka," Mr Robinson said. "Kororareka waterfront was a major resort for whalers and a thriving centre for traders and tavern keepers. The evidence we find here will add to our knowledge of the daily lives, diet and drinking habits of these colourful characters."

The main excavation work will run for three weeks in February involving 10-15 people from DOC and Auckland University.


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