His­tor­i­cal site dis­cov­ered on river ride

North Waikato News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

A his­tor­i­cal site of lo­cal sig­nif­i­cance has been dis­cov­ered by ar­chae­ol­o­gists work­ing along­side tan­gata whenua on the Te Awa River Ride project.

Opus ar­chae­ol­o­gist Kirsty Potts said the site near Horotiu had re­vealed ev­i­dence of long term oc­cu­pa­tion and ac­tiv­ity along the river­bank.

In ad­di­tion, fire­places and other fea­tures sug­gested that peo­ple were both liv­ing and work­ing along the banks of the Waikato River.

Ar­chae­ol­o­gists have ex­am­ined the phys­i­cal changes seen in the cuts and re­cut and have de­ter­mined that not only were peo­ple liv­ing there for a long time, but that there were mul­ti­ple lay­ers of oc­cu­pa­tion

While this was not the first find­ing, it was the most sig­nif­i­cant to date, Potts said.

She re­ported ev­i­dence of the life­style and crafts­man­ship of the peo­ple had also been iden­ti­fied dur­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Or­ganic ma­te­ri­als en­coun­tered by the ar­chae­ol­o­gists on site al­lowed fur­ther in­sight into the ev­ery­day lives of the peo­ple liv­ing on the river­bank.

Butchered an­i­mal bones and shell in mid­dens pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on what they were eat­ing.

The pres­ence of coastal shell­fish sug­gested that the trade routes were be­ing used for food as well as stone re­sources.

Charcoal frag­ments re­trieved from fire places have the po­ten­tial to pro­vide a time­frame around when this bustling site was oc­cu­pied through ra­dio car­bon dat­ing and in­for­ma­tion on what the en­vi­ron­ment was like at the time.

Potts said food stor­age pits were fre­quently en­coun­tered on site.

The site had also yielded ev­i­dence of ku­mara gar­den­ing, par­tic­u­larly puke ahu.

Ex­ca­va­tions are con­tin­u­ing and anal­y­sis of the ma­te­ri­als re­cov­ered is be­ing un­der­taken.

The site falls within the rohe of the Ngati Mahuta, Ngati Waikai and Ngati Wairere and the Ma¯ori as­so­ci­a­tions of the fea­tures and ma­te­ri­als en­coun­tered thus far pro­vides a tan­gi­ble link with the tupuna of the an­ces­tors who lived in this area.

When fin­ished, Te Awa - The Great New Zealand River Ride will stretch 70km be­tween Ngaru­awahia and Ho­ra­hora.

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