Laman Street work steers clear of cow bones and crockery

ARTEFACTS and bones found during the excavation of Newcastle's Laman Street are most likely from the mid-1800s, according to a preliminary investigation by an archaeologist.

Newcastle City Council halted work in the street after the discovery of about six oyster shells, broken crockery and bones.

"Council has been in contact with a local archaeologist who has confirmed that the artefacts are of European origin and circa mid to late 19th century," acting liveable city director John Johnston said yesterday.

A forensic anthropologist has examined the bones and believes they are from the shin of a cow.

The council said in a statement that the preliminary opinion of the archaeologist was that the material was likely transported to the site.

"The artefacts were discovered one and two metres under the surface, indicating that they had previously been used as fill when the site was backfilled many years ago," Mr Johnston said.

Before work commenced this month, the council did historical assessments that concluded the site was not known to be of cultural significance and there was "minimal potential" for the discovery of such artefacts

The council had been digging a 10 metre by three metre wide trench for the relocation of underground utilities. The excavation is the first part of the reconstruction of Laman Street, after the fig trees were cut down in February.

"Until the final reports are received no work will be undertaken in the area where the artefacts were discovered," the council said.

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