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Live archaeology in the Bay of Islands again

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Visitors to the Bay of Islands can take a guided tour of a working archaeological excavation at Mangahawea Bay on Moturua Island on January 15 (9am-12 noon).

Visitors can land at Waiwhapuku Bay / Camp Bay and walk over the hill to Mangahawea Bay.

The excavation is a joint initiative between the Arakite Charitable Trust, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, the Department of Conservation and the University of Otago.

Evidence collected over the previous two field excavation seasons confirms that the Mangahawea Bay area contains a very early, well preserved human settlement site containing structural features, and material culture including what is believed to be a ‘pa kahawai’ trolling fishing lure.

The Polynesian design of the lure carved from the native New Zealand paua shell may reflect early adaptation of the tropical east Polynesian colonisers to the temperate New Zealand environment.

An excavation last year also revealed evidence of very early gardening - perhaps dating back to the first generations of Polynesian explorers who settled on the island.

People will need to be able to travel independently to and from Mangahawea Bay on January 15. On arrival in the bay people should congregate at the carved pou, and a guide will take them on a tour of the site and talk about any artefacts or features uncovered during the 2020 excavation.

Visitors will need to bring their own hats, food, water and sunscreen.

The excavation is being funded by the Lottery Tuia - Encounters 250 Programme.

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