Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tunnel verdict: it's a drain

Associate Professor Heather Burke peers into the
drain from the access shaft.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL investigators have confirmed that the colonial infrastructure beneath Burnett St in New Norfolk is a drain connecting the Willow Court historic site to the River Derwent.

Flinders University representatives Heather Burke and Chantal Wight entered the structure at two locations in Burnett St today and determined that it was in fact a brick drain, probably for sewage. It is about 75cm wide and too low for an adult to walk through.

One entrance point was near the Riteway Supermarket and the other was near Beaurepaires. In both locations, access was gained via ventilation shafts. The brick-lined shaft near Beaurepaires was about 5m deep while the one outside the supermarket was just under 8m deep and made of concrete.

Associate Professor Burke said the drain was a very old brick structure. As shown in earlier video footage, the structure has a flat floor, straight walls and a curved roof. The bricks are hand-made and carry the "broad arrow" impression. The bricks in the ventilation shaft were newer than those in the drain and appeared to be mass-produced.

The investigators formed the view that the structure was built by first digging a trench and then building the brick drain, with the exception of a section that was tunneled through rock near High St. Further research will be carried out to determine the precise age of the structure.

Professor Burke and technical officer Wight spent two days in New Norfolk exploring archaeological opportunities in New Norfolk ahead of a field school this summer.

Flinders University technical officer Chantal Wight in the
colonial drain beneath Burnett St in New Norfolk.

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