Archaeology and History of the Chinese in Southern New Zealand During the Nineteenth Century

A Study of Acculturation, Adaptation and Change

Neville A. Ritchie

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Format: paperback
494 pages
ISBN: 9781743329313

Publication: 01 Nov 2023
Series: Studies in Australasian Historical Archaeology
Publisher: Sydney University Press

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This revised edition of Dr Neville A. Ritchie’s 1986 PhD dissertation explores the history and archaeology of the 19th century Chinese mining communities in the Clutha Valley, New Zealand. Lavishly illustrated with black-and-white line drawings of Chinese domestic and industrial sites, and of the artefacts excavated from them, this study offers unprecedented insight into the life and material culture of these male-only “sojourner” communities.

Widely considered the most comprehensive archaeological study of overseas Chinese miners’ experience anywhere in the world, this volume contains the total summation and analysis of artefacts found in 23 Chinese sites excavated over nine years, which included two camps (with 40 individual huts and other features), a Chinese store and 20 rural sites, including miner’s huts and rock shelters.

Considered by the Australian Society for Historical Archaeology to be a seminal work in the field of historical archaeology, this 2023 edition introduces Dr. Ritchie’s groundbreaking work to the next generation of archaeologists.

Dr Neville A. Ritchie is now a part-time archaeological heritage consultant. Prior to his retirement in 2018 he worked for over three decades as a technical advisor/archaeologist for the Department of Conservation, Hamilton, New Zealand, and prior to that spent a decade with Heritage New Zealand.

List of figures
List of tables
List of plates
Abbreviations and acronyms

  1. Introduction
  2. Chinese settlement in New Zealand
  3. The Chinese on the Central Otago goldfields
  4. The archaeological evidence
  5. The material culture of the Chinese in southern New Zealand
  6. Dietary analysis
  7. Summary and conclusions


“Brought to light a significant part of world and New Zealand history few knew anything about ... an encyclopedic reference work for archaeologists and historians to refer to. For readers interested in learning more about the Chinese in New Zealand he provides a readable narrative about their daily lives. This book is highly recommended for all who want to learn about Chinese immigration and lives in the southern Pacific during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”

Dr Dudley Gardner  

“Neville Ritchie’s intensive and long-awaited examination of the Chinese in southern New Zealand brilliantly intertwines historical research and archaeological excavation with meticulous artefact analysis to present a wonderfully detailed portrayal of the daily lives of the South Island’s early Chinese pioneers.”

Priscilla Wegars  

“Dr Neville Ritchie’s PhD ... has long been a sought-after resource for those involved in the archaeology and history of the Chinese diaspora and I welcome it in its published form. The detailed text is matched with invaluable graphics and statistics. ... the go-to reference for archaeologists and historians involved in the Pacific Rim Chinese diaspora.”

Gordon Grimwade  

Format: paperback
Size: 297 × 210 mm
494 pages
b&w line drawings, b&w plates, b&w tables, figures, and indexes
Copyright: © 2023
ISBN: 9781743329313
Publication: 01 Nov 2023
Series: Studies in Australasian Historical Archaeology