Historical site discovered on river ride
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.