Excavations under the former Horny Bull site on the Strand have provided a glimpse into the downtown area's past history showing things have not changed much in the last 150 years.
For the last three weeks MishMish Productions have been undertaking excavations on the site and archaeologist Brigid Gallagher says they have retrived a number of items used by early European settlers.
These include a variety of 19th century alcohol bottles, vinaigrette bottles and the remains of plant holder have been located at the rear of the site.
The Strand itself, which in those days was little more than a sandy track between the business frontages and the foreshore, was not part of the investigation.
Brigid says archaeologists have found a plaster mould of part of a child's jaw beneath what they were told was the site of a former dentist-chemist-druggist's business.
“We don't know why a child's jaw was made into a mould, but the artifacts back that up,” says Brigid.
Archeologists have also located barrels butted into the sand at the site of an old spring, and a couple of rubbish pits. They found evidence of a saddler, a lot of leather off cuts, old bits of shoes and stirrup irons.
Also located from under the old tavern was a toothpaste lid from the days of Queen Victoria.
Archaeologists have been digging up the remains of some of the buildings in this picture.
“In the 1900s when you have a butcher's next door, there's not a lot of beef bones,” says Brigid.
But that may have been another sign of the times. Another business in the immediate area was an oyster saloon/hair dresser and tailor.
“In Tauranga they wouldn't get much meat, the people here had to make do with shellfish and oysters.”
The archaeologists started on May 24, taking three and a half weeks to explore the site under the former tavern. The findings will be examined and a report is expected to be written in the next year.
It may be the first of several, as there is a city council requirement that the sites under all earthquake risk buildings along The Strand be archaeologically examined before redevelopment.
“Things haven't been disturbed under the buildings,” says Brigid.
“It's all waiting there to be understood.”