Craigieburn Restoration – Phase Three

The restoration of the old ruin at Craigieburn is moving into its third stage as the final pieces of the archaeological jigsaw are moved into place. The little ruin has always been puzzling, was it the settlers original dwelling or did the building have another purpose? With the removal of the large tree in the north-west corner excavation has been able to be undertaken to look for the foundations of the original front wall and doorway. However, those excavations have found that there was not likely to have been a front wall of the building.  This makes it likely that the structure was an early agricultural building used for storing animals. Further excavation is required to look for the post holes that would have supported the roof, and this will give more information on the type of building and its use. Stone mason Stuart Griffiths has made good progress readying the ruin for restoration, and people walking past will be curious as to what the duckboards and excavated clay pit opposite the ruin are used for. The walls are photographed and the individual stones mapped and numbered.The walls are then carefully disassembled and rebuilt with the new clay mortar.The clay is used to bind the stone once it is repositioned like the original building method. Visitors might also wonder why stones have been given little painted dots. This is to allow the restoration team to recognise which part of the building any loose stones would have come from on the ruin so they can be replaced in their correct position. It’s rather painstaking work, but with a little patience and careful planning we should be able to preserve the ruin for the future. Once the planned interpretation information is created on-site visitors will have an insight into Dunedin’s early colonial agricultural development.  Let’s just hope that the weather improves, wet clay needs some warmth and dry conditions in order for it to set the stone in place. 

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