Sweet find at Cadbury car park excavations

Excavations at a former Cadbury chocolate factory car park have uncovered something interesting.

Recent excavation of concrete slabs to level a large area at the corner of Castle St and Bow Ln in preparation for the storage contractor vehicles and equipment that will be involved in the demolition of the former Cadbury factory site unearthed several historic items.

Deposit of glassware, ceramics, leather, and bone. Photo: Newdunedinhospital.nz
Deposit of glassware, ceramics, leather, and bone. Photo: Newdunedinhospital.nz
The carpark had previously been registered as an archaeological site, so the excavation work was monitored by members of New Zealand Heritage Properties and archaeological consultants.

Brick paving and foundation features were found around the site, as well as a paved drainage trench.

Bluestone paving revealed on the Cadbury carpark site. Photo: Newdunedin hospital.nz
Bluestone paving revealed on the Cadbury carpark site. Photo: Newdunedin hospital.nz
Jutting out from one of the foundation features was an exposed bluestone paving pathway.

A post on a website for the new hospital said the building and feature were thought to date back to the 19th century.

The largest collection of items was found underneath the wooden foundations of the structure.

Several glass bottles and ceramic artefacts were found, with some clearly identifiable by their labels.

A complete leather shoe found in one of the artefact deposits. Photo: Newdunedinhospital.nz
A complete leather shoe found in one of the artefact deposits. Photo: Newdunedinhospital.nz
These included a stoneware bottle from Derby, England, and a container of Holloways ointment.

Similar Holloways ceramic containers date back to the 1860s.

The ointment was marketed as a "cure of gout and rheumatism".

A second, smaller deposit of items were found on the northern section of the carpark.

A Holloways ointment container. Photo: Newdunedinhospital.nz
A Holloways ointment container. Photo: Newdunedinhospital.nz
They included an entire boot, and a smoking pipe bowl.

Hayden Cawte of Underground Overground Archaeology, who oversaw the excavation, said he was particularly surprised by the level of preservation of the artefacts and brickwork.

“With the foundations, you don’t often see that level of structural detail, and the ceramic artefacts were in great condition.”

All artefacts were recorded on-site then discarded off-site due to the risk of asbestos and diesel contamination as part of required health and safety procedures, the post said.

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