Dig to unearth Schurmann cottage begins at North Shields

Work at North Shields has started to discover how the site of Clamor Schurmann’s cottage and Barngarla Native School would have looked.

Flinders Univeristy archaeologists, Associate Professor Heather Burke and Chantal Wight, together with Dr Lynley Wallis from the University of Notre Dame, are leading a team of archaeology students from Flinders University on the project.

The team began on Monday to try and unearth the site where Lutheran missionary Clamor Schurmann lived in his cottage and ran his school for the Barngarla people.

Trenches were dug based on a geophysical survey done last year and based on observation on the surface.

Dr Burke said the trench was done on what was thought to be the floor of the cottage to find a deposit but didn’t unearth anything.

Other trenches were made at the top and bottom of the hill and work has started on excavating what is believed to be the cottage’s well.

Dr Burke said it was not clear what would be found at the site.

“With archaeology, we never know what we will find until we find it,” she said.

So far the dig has unearthed some ceramics and metal from the time period, as well as several shards of thin glass in the square trench near the well, indicating a window was located close by.

Dr Burke said members of the local Barngarla community have visited the dig site as well as members of the Port Lincoln Lutheran community.

Anthropologist Tim Haines has also been visiting the site and provided assistance to the project.

For the archaeology students the field school has provided great hands on experience.

Tony Pagels is from Yarra Valley in Victoria and said the field school has provided invaluable experience.

“It’s certainly very interesting , we’re slowly working away and hopefully recover more material than what we have,” he said.

“We’re looking in a number of different areas and we’re all getting a greater understanding of what happened on this site and hopefully answer some questions for the different stakeholders.”

The dig will continue until Friday.