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Melbourne Museum Presents An Archaeological Time Capsule

Get a glimpse into working-class life in late 19th century Melbourne during Archaeology Week. Open through 22 Nov 2010

On display are the thousands of artefact fragments excavated from a cesspit in Irish labourer John Maloney’s backyard. John lived with his brother and two sisters in a three-room, weatherboard house on Casselden Place in inner-city Melbourne.

John Maloney’s cesspit, filled during the 1870s, remained undisturbed for over 120 years. Its excavation in 1988 provided archaeologists a glimpse into working-class life in late 19th century Melbourne.

The display is arranged by use and features bottles, glasses, dinner and tea ware, chamber pots, ornaments, clothing remnants and faunal remains. As an ensemble, the contents of the cesspit provide a glimpse into the Maloney family’s daily life.

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