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Unfortunately, this event’s been postponed
Culture Brokers: The Archaeology of 19th Century Shops: POSTPONED

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All Ages

What was it like to shop for household goods in colonial Christchurch? Archaeologist Jessie Garland explains what the artefacts tell us.

Among the thousands of archaeological sites and artefacts excavated in Christchurch since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes are seven assemblages recovered from the sites of nineteenth century shops. These range from general stores, including Sheppard and Co., run by Walter Sheppard, to fancy goods stores and the delightfully Dickensian styled “Well-Known Little Shop”. Each offers a rare archaeological glimpse into the ups and downs of the retailing business in nineteenth century Christchurch, providing a tangible illustration of what it might have been like to shop for household goods in the early colonial settlement. Each of the objects found serves as an example of the items that once stocked the shelves and lured in customers, while anecdotes and advertisements illustrate the personalities of the stores as they were presented to the public.

Stores like these acted as a window to the vast trading networks of the British empire, showcasing and selling goods from the ‘home markets’ of Britain, as well as further afield. In turn, the shopkeepers who ran these businesses played a role in shaping the material culture of nineteenth century Christchurch, curating what was available for consumers to purchase as well as influencing how those items might be viewed by those who would buy them. Shops, and the act of shopping, remain a key part of how so many of us still access the material culture that constructs and furnishes our day-to-day worlds – this talk offers an archaeological perspective on our relationship with this aspect of consumer culture through the stories and archaeological evidence from these seven nineteenth century retail establishments.

Jessie Garland is an archaeologist and material culture specialist based in Christchurch. She is currently undertaking her doctorate through La Trobe University, Melbourne, on the nineteenth century artefact assemblage recovered from Christchurch over the last decade, researching questions of trade and consumerism in the colonial city from 1850-1900.

Bookings recommended, door sales may be available if not sold out prior.
If you want to explore the Te Whare Waiutuutu Kate Sheppard House visitor experience before or after the talk, admission charges will apply (booking recommended).

Covid-19 Protection Framework update
Te Whare Waiutuutu Kate Sheppard House is now open under the traffic light system.
To visit us, please sanitise, wear a mask and follow our requirements for the traffic light setting on the day, which you can find here:
Please stay home if you are unwell, waiting for a Covid-19 test result, self-isolating or a confirmed or probable case of Covid-19.

Limited parking is available on the street, please allow extra time for parking during university term time. Try the University of Canterbury's pay and display Clyde carpark on Arts Road (5 minute walk), or take bus 100 or 120, which both have stops outside on Clyde Road. Please contact us prior to booking if you require accessible parking.

The bowl of a Native American figural smoking pipe, excavated from a pit on the site of the Gould and Miles and Sheppard and Co. general stores.
Left: Angel Trendafilov, Underground Overground Archaeology
Centre and Right: Jessie Garland, Underground Overground Archaeology

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