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Proceedings Paper

Rutherford's "Old Tin Shed": mapping the foundations of a Victorian-age lecture hall
Author(s): David C. Nobes; Bryan Lintott
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Paper Abstract

The Arts Centre of Christchurch occupies what was the original site of the University of Canterbury. One of the original buildings was nicknamed 'The Old Tin Shed.' The 'shed' is an important historical feature, in part because Ernest Rutherford had his undergraduate physics and chemistry lectures there. Recent evidence suggested that the Old Tin Shed foundations lay beneath one of the quadrangles. Horizontal loop EM and 200 MHz ground-penetrating radar (GPR) surveys were used to delineate both modern features -- e.g., a buried power cable -- and the remnants of the foundations. A pseudo-3 dimensional survey geometry allowed the GPR data to be examined using 3D visualization software. In addition to the power cable, time slices reveal the wider shallow foundations for outer covered entryways, the deeper narrower foundations for the main building, and possibly some internal structures. At late GPR travel times, air-wave diffractions from the surrounding buildings and an overhead metal sculpture are prominent, but the diffractions tend to occur below the level of reflections from the 'shed' foundations. Excavations on Saturday 18 October 1999 confirmed the location of the foundations. The GPR results will be used to delineate what may remain of the building and to guide future excavations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 April 2000
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 4084, Eighth International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar, (27 April 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.383534
Show Author Affiliations
David C. Nobes, Univ. of Canterbury (New Zealand)
Bryan Lintott, The Arts Ctr. (New Zealand)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4084:
Eighth International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar

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