Buried treasure: this vase showing a South American man is thought to be one of the most valuable finds at the site. Photo: KATIE MARTIN

Old meets new at GovHub construction site

April 15, 2021 BY

BENEATH the site of Bendigo’s GovHub construction site lay sixty-seven thousand artefacts dating back to the 1850s.

Plates, pipes and even a pistol were among the findings of one of the largest historical excavations in regional Victoria.

Senior project manager Zak Jones said the pieces were found in excellent condition for their age.

“It is surprising, there is a really good level of preservation,” he said.

The finds give archaeologists a glimpse into the lives of those who lived and worked at what was once the centre of the city.

“We can use these and analyse these to really start detailing the practices of people, how they lived, what they possessed, how they used the land,” Mr Jones said.

Before any artefacts could be displayed to the public, they must be analysed by Heritage Victoria and senior archaeologist Paul Pepdjonovic is looking forward to uncovering stories of the gold rush era.

“What’s been really interesting and exciting is the realisation that we can convey meaningful stories about the past community to the present Bendigo community,” he said.

The search isn’t over though, and Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said further discoveries are yet to come.

“That’s just the start, there’s still a few more weeks to go yet to uncover even more artefacts.”

Construction on the new $90 million GovHub will begin after two final weeks of archaeological digging, and the project is on track for completion in late 2022.