Living the high life – finding evidence of Horeke’s historic homestead

Way back in the 1820s the superintendent of the Deptford Shipyard lived in a homestead up on the terrace with commanding views over Horeke. From here he could keep an eagle eye on the comings and goings in the shipyard below. Historic images show that the homestead was a simple cottage much like others from that period in New Zealand. Unlike others, the superintendent kept a flag pole in his front yard along with several cannons (7 or 17, depending on who you’re talking to).

Upper terrace house.jpg

Enlargement from 1828 painting by Augustus Earle (Re nan Kivell Collection, National Library of Australia. C18 #T175 NK12/138)

So far the team on the terrace have been working on revealing the remains of the homestead. Now that we are finally rid of the kakuya grass (known to the terrace team as devil grass), we are able to see artefacts like bottles, ceramics, as well as animal bones, and a ton of bricks!

Upper terrace artefacts.jpg

Bags, bags everywhere!

Over the next couple of days we will be digging to uncover more artefacts and find features that can tell us about domestic life during the nineteenth century at the site. Features we expect to find include rubbish pits, post holes, a house floor and possibly even a footpath. We also expect to find more food related items, such as cups, plates and serving ware, and also other home ware telling us about everyday life at the homestead. For example, we have already found a clay pipe and pieces of a chamber pot. From this, we know that the occupants of the house enjoyed the odd puff, and sometimes got caught short at night. We look forward to getting to know more about the residents of the homestead through what they have left behind, and sharing these finds with you at our open day this Saturday 16th. For now we retire to the Horeke Tavern to eagerly await our delicious dinner!





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