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Ceramic plate with summer flowers pattern, c. 1828-1860, English, excavated from Viewbank Homestead, Heidelberg. Collection of Heritage Victoria, Melbourne
Metal percussion six barrel pepperbox pistol, c. 1850-80s, probably British, Eureka Historic precinct excavations, 1997. Collection of Heritage Victoria, Melbourne
This exhibition features highlights from the archaeological collection of Heritage Victoria. The field of historical archaeology has developed and matured over the last 20 years, and for the first time it is now possible to see the evolving story of Victoria's settlement and development reflected in its archaeology.
Excavations in Victoria have uncovered significant archaeological remains and relics. Objects from the failed 1803 settlement site near Sorrento are perhaps the oldest historical artefacts ever found in Victoria; these will be on display alongside artefacts from the Eureka historic precinct that relate to the Victorian goldfields and the gold rush. Chinese gaming tokens and ceramic jars reflect the activity at a Bendigo kiln site and market garden in the 1880s and an assortment of small finds from the home of a seamstress at Cohen Place in the CBD shed light on life in early Melbourne.
Fine porcelain and other prestigious items found in the ruins of Viewbank homestead on the banks of the Yarra near Heidelberg provide an insight into the way of life of Melbourne’s developing upper class. More recent discoveries at the former Pentridge prison include artefacts associated with Ned Kelly, one of the most notorious of all Australians. The exhibition will also include items recovered from two unique Victorian shipwrecks: the Cheviot and the City of Launceston.