'Buried with his boots on': An integrated life course case-study of a liminal burial from the New Zealand goldrushes

Authors

  • Hallie Buckley Department of Anatomy, University of Otago
  • Peter Petchey Southern Archaeology Ltd. and Honorary Research Fellow, Archaeology Programme, University of Otago
  • Neville Ritchie Independent Researcher, Hamilton
  • Rebecca Kinaston Department of Anatomy, University of Otago
  • Charlotte King Department of Anatomy, University of Otago
  • Jonny Geber School of History, Classics & Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
  • Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith Department of Anatomy, University of Otago
  • Annie Marie Snoddy Department of Anatomy, University of Otago
  • Chris Stantis National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian institution
  • Ellen Kendall Department of Archaeology, Durham University
  • Geoff Nowell Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University
  • Darren Grocke Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University

Abstract

The New Zealand goldrushes of the mid nineteenth century saw an influx of, mostly, men surging into the Otago region in search of riches. Times were tough and the men had to cope with harsh weather and dangerous work practices to survive. Many lost their lives and most of these men remain anonymous. This paper presents a detailed life-course case study of a middle-aged man who lived, and died, in this biosocial landscape. The integration of osteological, chemical and molecular data reveals a life of hardship in his early years, improved nutrition from adolescence, and poor oral health as an adult. He also experienced injury as an adult and likely periodic nutritional deficiency in the last few years of his life. Morphological and molecular analyses attest to this man being of European ancestry, despite local stories of him being a ‘black man’ who drowned. His grave was liminal, located far from any formal cemetery, and the grave and been disturbed, possibly due to looting. While his identity remains unknown, his earthly remains encapsulate a typical early gold diggers life with experiences of poor beginnings and an ignoble, often anonymous end.

Published

26-01-2022

How to Cite

Buckley, H., Petchey, P., Ritchie, N., Kinaston, R., King, C., Geber, J., Matisoo-Smith, E., Snoddy, A. M., Stantis, C., Kendall, E., Nowell, G. and Grocke, D. (2022) “’Buried with his boots on’: An integrated life course case-study of a liminal burial from the New Zealand goldrushes”, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 12(1), pp. 92–109. Available at: https://pacificarchaeology.org/index.php/journal/article/view/335 (Accessed: 10 December 2022).

Issue

Section

Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>