Archaeology and Temperance: Measuring a Century of Household Alcohol Consumption in New Zealand
The temperance movement was a social reform movement which sought to limit alcohol consumption, and ultimately prohibit its sale. The high levels of alcohol consumption which existed in early nineteenth century New Zealand were responsible for many social issues, leading to concerns surrounding its sale and calls for reforms. These calls for reform came from temperance societies, with the first societies opening in New Zealand during the 1830s. As the movement grew in popularity, the debate over alcohol became mainstream with New Zealanders split in their views. From 1894 to 1987 New Zealanders voted in triennial licensing polls on whether they wanted the sale of alcohol to be prohibited. Whilst there has been research done on the historical aspects of the temperance movement, little study has been undertaken regarding the archaeological evidence for the movement. Material culture relating to both alcohol consumption and the temperance movement existed, meaning the movement should be present in the archaeological record. This thesis aims to examine the archaeological evidence for the temperance movement at the household level. It measures levels of alcohol bottles from two sites, the VRC site in Whanganui and the Gordon Road site in Mosgiel, from 1850 through to 1950. Both sites were large developments, covering multiple town sections, and their excavation resulted in the recovery of a high number of artefacts from deposits pertaining to several households. Alcohol bottles are used as a proxy for temperate behaviour, with the initial hypothesis being that alcohol bottle levels would have decreased during periods of temperance activity, and that given the scale of the movement, this decrease should be seen in a random sample of household assemblages. The results from this thesis are used to assess the success of the temperance movement and the impact it had at the household level.
Advisor: Smith, Ian
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Anthropology and Archaeology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Temperance Movement; Whanganui; Mosgiel; Alcohol Consumption; Bottles; New Zealand Archology
Research Type: Thesis