“Archaeology is never what you expect it to be, there’s always something unexpected or new,” says Jessie Garland.
The desire to better understand people is what led Jessie to study Archaeology and Classics, and it is what continues to inspire her in her work with Underground Overground Archaeology Ltd, an archaeological consultancy based in Christchurch.
Jessie is an Archaeologist and Artefacts Specialist with Underground Overground Archaeology Ltd. Her days are very busy, helping to recover, identify and research artefacts found in sites in Christchurch. She also writes about these finds in a blog, thus sharing the emerging story of Christchurch’s past with the wider community.
“Due to the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and the scale of earthworks, so much of the central city is being dug up. We’re making significant discoveries about what life was like in 19th century Christchurch as we collect artefacts from all kinds of archaeological sites. We’re learning so much about the people who lived in, and built this city during that time.
“I studied archaeology because I loved history and science, and archaeology combines both,” she says. “I also loved stories and both classics and archaeology are windows into different, often distant worlds. I always loved the stories of the Classical figures and the epic scale of events that unfolded in the Classical world.”
“People fascinate me, as individuals and as part of the societies, cultures and civilisations that we’ve created, that we continue to create. The more I learn about people in the past, the more I learn about people in the present.”
Of her time at the University of Otago Jessie says “I loved it, I miss it still. The friends I made there continue to be some of my best friends. The department is really supportive with a fun postgraduate community. Undergraduates had lots of opportunity to volunteer and help with archaeological work. And I don’t think there’s anywhere else quite like Dunedin, it’s a unique place to live and go to university.”