Household Narratives from a Colonial Frontier
This research uses an archaeological assemblage collected during the redevelopment of a central Whanganui carpark into the Victoria Retail Centre to highlight the potential of this type of material to provide rich and meaningful information about New Zealand’s colonial past. In order to do this a methodology was created to suit archaeological investigations without pre-determined research questions and allow for the material culture itself to direct the research. This approach incorporates traditional archaeological recording, artefact analysis and historical research with the slightly less orthodox presentation of the data as three narratives which each focus on a particular individual or household. These narratives portray the past as a set of individual experiences as interpreted through particular artefacts or types of artefacts and enable archaeological data to be presented in a way which in accessible and meaningful to a non-archaeological audience while at the same time maintaining academic integrity. The stories themselves reveal three unique vignettes of life in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Whanganui in considerable more depth than traditional archaeological interpretations. When considered together these stories also provide insights into the past at a local, national and even global scale.
Advisor: Smith, Ian; Thomas, Tim
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Anthropology and Archaeology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Whanganui; New Zealand; historical archaeology; material culture; narrative
Research Type: Thesis