A cow’s femur, food storage jars, hairdressing grease and an inkwell are just some of the items discovered at the site, at Little Lonsdale Coroner’s and Bennetts Lane.
Extent Heritage chief executive Ian Travers said the finds gave a “glimpse of what it was like to be young in Melbourne”.
Remains of terraces and cottages from the mid to late 19th century were also discovered among the artifacts.
“It is a remarkable demonstration of the development of the city since the first colonial development of Port Phillip which became the city of Melbourne,” said Travers.
“It’s really the first collection of material culture that the first European inhabitants brought with them.”
Travers said the artifacts discovered were well preserved.
“The level of preservation of structural remains as well as artifacts really gives us a level of detail that is not recorded in historical records,” he said.
“Those just weren’t written and now we can fill those gaps.”
The dig is in preparation for the construction of the Bennett’s Lane development, a 20-storey office building with a retail and entertainment district.
Developers Perri Projects and Pellicano are now working with archaeologists from Extent Heritage to document the finds.
The developers said the enclosure would incorporate the newly discovered artifacts and reuse some of the bluestone and brick materials salvaged during the excavation.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said she was delighted to see parts of Melbourne’s history preserved and recovered.
“Where heritage features are identified it is important that they are incorporated into the completed development and we are going to see that happen here on Bennetts Lane,” she said.
The precious artifacts that countries have wanted to recover for centuries
“We’re going to see the artifacts and their stories come to life in this development.”