A cow’s femur, food storage jars, grease for hair styling and an ink well were just some of the items discovered at the site, on the coroner of Little Lonsdale and Bennetts Lane.
Extent Heritage chief executive Ian Travers said the finds provided a “glimpse of what early life in Melbourne was like”.
Remains of mid to late 19th-century terraces and cottages have also been unearthed among the artefacts.
“It’s a remarkable demonstration of the development of the city from the earliest colonial development of Port Phillip which became the City of Melbourne,” Travers said.
“This is really the first collection of material culture that the first European inhabitants brought with them.”
Travers said artefacts discovered were in well-preserved.
“The level of preservation of the structural remains along with the artefacts is really giving us a level of detail that isn’t recorded in the historical records,” he said.
“These were just not written about and now we can fill in these 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 precinct.
Developers Perri Projects and Pellicano are now working with archaeologists from Extent Heritage to document the discoveries.
The developers said the precinct would incorporate the newly discovered artifices and re-purpose some of the bluestone and brick materials salvaged during the excavation.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said she was thrilled to see parts of Melbourne’s history preserved and salvaged.
“When heritage elements are identified, it’s important for them to be incorporated into the completed development and we are going to see that happening here on Bennetts Lane,” she said.
The precious artefacts countries have wanted back for centuries
“We are going to see the artefacts and their stories brought to life in this development.”