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Home >> Local News >>

Prehistoric Mount remains confirmed

Posted at 12:32pm Thursday 17 Oct, 2013 | By Luke Balvert luke@thesun.co.nz

Prehistoric human remains uncovered in a grave at Pilot Bay during the construction of the boardwalk have now been identified as two Maori adults and a child.

Archaeologists this week confirmed to SunLive the identification of three skeletons discovered alongside Moa bones, fish hooks and stone tools, on the foreshore of The Mall in July this year.

Maori remains found during the Pilot Bay boardwalk construction.
Bay of Plenty Archaeology heritage consultant Ken Phillips says the human remains were examined by Auckland University physical anthropologists and have since been re-buried by tangata whenua.  

He says thousands of artefacts were uncovered during the construction of the boardwalk in Mount Maunganui. Each will be analysed in the coming months.

Construction on the newly opened $364,594 boardwalk took place between July and October with excavation reaching down about 150mm to remove topsoil.

Along with the bones and fish hooks, the majority of artefacts are stone flake debris, from the Coromandel Peninsula, produced during adze manufacturing which appears to have been a major function of the site.

“The investigation carried out at the site this year has added significantly to our understanding of the early settlement of Tauranga and New Zealand generally,” says Ken.

Historic Places Trust regional archaeologist, Dr Rachel Darmody, says the discovery is exciting as the area has a rich history of settlement dating back 700 years, which has not yet been fully researched.

She says Tauranga City Council approached the trust for authority to research the area in the early stages of the boardwalk's planning, realising it is a significant and sacred area.

“We expected something would pop up,” says Rachel.

“Often when they do developments it's often a little slice or piece, but it was nice because the boardwalk was going all the way down so it was good to see all the archaeology, all the way along.”

According to archaeologists, Pilot Bay is one of the oldest known archaeological sites nationwide after being first discovered in the 1960s. But up until now there have been no opportunities to examine the site in any detail. 

Ken says previous radiocarbon dates recovered from the site indicate it was first occupied during the mid to late 1300s with later episodes of occupation up to the early 1800s.   

The first Polynesian settlers established a village when they arrived (circa 1200-1300s) with small portions of the village being unearthed under 37 The Mall and other sites along the Bay frontage.

By the 1850s, the Pilot Bay area had been abandoned by Maori, soon becoming a popular outing destination for Tauranga residents from the 1880s.

“The boardwalk and stormwater upgrade work has exposed many sections of the site which we now know extends the length of the beach and was a large and significant early settlement involved in many manufacturing activities.”  

A detailed report will be prepared and made available when all analysis of samples and artifacts and radio carbon dating has been completed.


COMMENTS

Thanks Rascal

Posted on 24-10-2013 12:50 | By YOGI BEAR

I was awaiting someone to say that :), so you are acknowledging then that Maori are really Polynesian then? If that is so then we need to add them to the growing list of various cultures who have been to NZ at various times through the history of NZ then.

Join the dots...

Posted on 22-10-2013 23:27 | By little rascal

Maori and Polynesians... One and the same YOGI. Where do you think Maori journeyed to Aotearoa from? I'll give you a clue.. Starts with P ends with A and has OLYNESI in the middle.. Google it!

Polynesian settlers #2

Posted on 21-10-2013 11:06 | By YOGI BEAR

I am not suggesting that Maori did not settle in Pilot Bay, what I am noting is the fact that the article notes that Polynesian settlers wee there before Maori were. The implications are of course very interesting in the bigger picture of everything.

Southmark

Posted on 21-10-2013 11:03 | By YOGI BEAR

I have tried to put up a reply a couple of times, so keeping it simple: go to Google and search for "NZ Celts" and from there you will be reading for years ...

This shouldn't be a surprise.

Posted on 19-10-2013 23:05 | By Shropshire

This area is well known to have been used by local Iwi for settlement and as an urupa/cemetary. The Colonials have only discovered what was to be expected on land they had taken by force. There will be more of these 'surprises'. The only thing you've rediscovered Yogi Bear is your bong. Take your bong back to your desperate, factless, conspiracy theory forums.

Yogi

Posted on 19-10-2013 06:27 | By southmark

Can you list some sources for us please? I'm assuming you read deeply about all of this, or was it the 'voices'...?

How could you..???

Posted on 17-10-2013 22:42 | By groutby

YOGI BEAR : Suggest for a moment that the remains would be anything other than "Maori" ??..after all, anything that could gain traction for claims or benefits are cited immediately aren't they?.. Who are the "Archaeologists" involved?..these people seem to "pop up" quite randomly, I guess we will have to wait and see what the Carbon dating" is completed perhaps..do we dig up the articles that have been "keenly" re-buried?..we all expect something to "pop up"..and it usually does,.. rarely European tho? Why so?..

sad

Posted on 17-10-2013 13:29 | By nzrcks

sad knowing that they have been there so close to the surface and we have been just walking all over them glad they were found and can be laid to rest properly

oh no

Posted on 17-10-2013 13:23 | By Jimmy

so when does the toll go up for using the boardwalk?

Polynesian settlers

Posted on 17-10-2013 13:11 | By YOGI BEAR

So that is another ethnic group that were in NZ before Maori (they were dropped off in NZ by General Zheng He, hence the 7 'canoes' myth handed down by Maori) add to the growing list including: - Vikings, Scots, Arabic, Spanish, Moriori and possibly Dutch as well.

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Pilot Bay sunset. Photo by Linda Howe. Send us your photos and stories from around the Bay of Plenty. photos@thesun.co.nz