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Student Spotlight: Beth Meyers

Beth Meyers is an Honours student at The University of Western Australia. Her thesis focuses on urban archaeology in Fremantle, Western Australia, and the day to day behaviour of people during the late 19th and early 20th century.

My passion for historical and urban archaeology stems from studying a third year Archaeology unit under Al Paterson and Sean Winter, when we were taught about the uses of historical archaeology and its importance.

My Honours thesis focuses on the Manning buildings that were excavated in early 2019 due to ongoing construction at the site, and the artefacts that were uncovered during the excavations. A large range of artefacts from glass window panes and bottles, to women’s stockings and perfume, and small trinkets such as a ceramic dolls head were excavated, alongside butchered and burnt animal bone, ceramic housewares and other everyday items.

The site was occupied over a long period of time (roughly 100 years) and was used primarily for commercial and retail use with butchers, dressmakers, winemakers, fruit and vegetable sellers and other retailers operating at the site over time. While there is a significant amount of historical documents to explain site use, these documents focus on the larger picture and not the day to day behaviours occurring at the site.

During my research I hope to uncover more about what happened at the site, the people that lived in the area and used the services, and fill the gap in the historical documents. I hope that my research leads me to being able to contribute to the literature about urban archaeology in Australia, as it is still a growing discipline.

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