Mid to late 1800s Whanganui will come alive with stories from the woman who has worked through the many artefacts found on a large central city building site.

Naomi Woods, a PhD student at Otago University, has spent years working on the archaeological material from the Victoria Retail Centre site, excavated in 2010.

She's bringing her findings to Whanganui on October 25, in a 7.30pm talk at the Davis Lecture Theatre.

The title is A Widow's Tale: household narratives from a colonial frontier. Ms Woods has been able to piece together family stories from the artefacts.

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Readers may remember the many boxes of broken glass, china, bones and other items among the 2500kg from the excavation trucked to Dunedin.

In 2010 the archaeologists discovered the remains of buildings, wells, gardens and a lot of colonial refuse including dolls, toys, buttons and an early version of a bicycle.

The talk is free, but seating is limited and people wishing to go must register with Ella Grant by October 18. They can do that by emailing whascifo@xtra.co.nz or ringing her in the evening on (06) 342 4747.

The talk is a combined initiative of Heritage New Zealand, Whanganui District Council and the Whanganui Science Forum.