Hundreds upon hundreds of human teeth have been unearthed in Melbourne as work continues on the monumental Metro Tunnel Project, which is not terrifying nor ominous at all.
Those orphaned chompers were scooped up at one of the project’s digs on Swanston Street in the CBD, which was the site of a dentist’s office at the turn of the 20th century.
The Age reports the majority of the teeth were found haphazardly scattered around the joint or inside a pipe, suggesting the good doctor J.J. Forster was prone to chucking away those enamel horrors as soon as they were plucked.
More than 200 teeth and half a set of dentures have been found at no. 11 Swanston Street! No, not a grisly discovery, but the remains of a former dentistry practice that belonged dentist and surgeon JJ Forster ????. The items – which also include a tooth with a gold filling – are thought to date between 1898 to 1930, and were found throughout the yard and within an iron plumbing pipe, probably flushed down a drain.
And plucked they were. The majority of the teeth are in tact, barring rot, suggesting the practitioner didn’t bother with fixing teeth so much as giving them a good ol’ tug.
In addition to the teeth, archaeologists reportedly expect to dig up as many one million interesting bits and pieces as digs continue at two sites on Swanston Street, and at multiple other spots around the city.
The dig has already uncovered a trove of knick-knacks, including a charming little whistle, some fancy earrings, dice, and a miniature haunted doll.
Another great find at our Swanston Street site! This pen nib was created by Levi Brown, who is credited for making the first gold nibs as an alternative to the goose quills (which required constant resharpening.) He first sold his hand-made nibs for $5 US each, equivalent to $130 US in today’s market. If you are in the city today, make sure to pop by our viewing windows to see how the digs are going!
Fashion in Melbourne has always been marvellous. This ornate piece was part of a pair of jet earrings from the 1860-90s. It was found on the site of the Freemasons Hotel (which later became the Gippsland Hotel), near Young and Jacksons. Jet was popularised after the death of Queen Victoria’s husband Albert in 1861 at which time she began sporting large items of jet mourning jewellery. These earrings, highly fashionable and expensive, may have been a gift from a loved one or a decadent souvenir from a trip abroad. To see what it would have looked like in all its splendour, swipe left (image from AntiqueAtlas.com).
Oh, what’s that? You want to see the doll? Careful what you bloody wish for.
Buried deep in the cellar of 13 Swanston Street, this painted china doll head was believed to be part of a bath toy popular in the 1850s ????. The “Frozen Charlotte” doll gained its name from a 19th-century ballad about a vain girl who refused to cover up one winter’s night and froze to death ????. Be sure to take a lesson from Charlotte and rug up in Melbourne's winter when heading into the city to peer through one of our archaeological viewing windows ⚒️!
If you’re the kind of person who is dead keen to have a gander at all of the very obviously haunted and evil gear these units have dug up, you’re in luck: the project’s visitor centre, located across from Melbourne Town Hall, will display a collection from September 24.
Peep the details HERE, and don’t forget to floss.
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Image: Metro Tunnel Project / Nine News