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Researchers Return to Early Polynesian Site in New Zealand

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Polynesians Moturua IslandDUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND—A team of archaeologists has returned to an archaeological site near the northern tip of New Zealand that could date to the arrival of the first Polynesians in the area, some 700 years ago. Live Science reports that archaeologists first investigated the site, located on Moturua Island, in 1981. The current team members are also studying the artifacts recovered during that dig. The items include a shell pendant, dog remains, bone fish hooks, shell fragments, and animal bones found in a stone-lined underground oven, or hangi. Recent finds from the site include the cooked remains of seals, shellfish, and moa, a flightless bird thought to have been driven to extinction by New Zealand’s first human hunters. Andrew Blanshard of New Zealand’s Department of Conservation said the recent research indicates the shell pendant was made from a species of pearl oyster native to tropical waters, not the cold waters of New Zealand. He thinks it may have been brought from another part of Polynesia. “But at this stage, it’s still very much a wish, rather than something we can prove,” he said. To read more about early Polynesian migration, go to "Inside Kauai's Past."

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