Polynesian archeology carbon dating

23-Oct-2017 01:22

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If the shell in the pendant is confirmed to be mother-of-pearl, then it may have been brought to New Zealand by some of the very earliest settlers from tropical parts of Polynesia: "But at this stage, it's still very much a wish, rather than something we can prove," Blanshard said.

Blanshard became interested in this archeological "cold case" when he helped build a walking track around the island in 2006.

Ethnologists, (led by Percy Smith) 'tidied up' Maori oral tradition in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and gave the date of first Polynesian contact with New Zealand at 750 AD; the 'great fleet' (which departed from the Tahitian region) arrived in 1350 AD.

Supported by Elsdon Best and the Maori scholar Peter Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa), Smith's ideas became widely accepted by Maori and Pakeha alike, remaining dominant until at least the 1970s.

The question of when Maori first arrived in New Zealand has also been hotly debated, as has the question of a pre-Maori population.

Maori oral tradition tells of an ancestral home of Hawaiki, which today is believed to be in the areas of the Southern Cook and Society islands.

Nineteenth century science suggested the Aryan Polynesian, with India as the Maori homeland.

Many of the items were found in the archives of universities and government departments in different cities around New Zealand, he said.

The notebooks, in particular, enabled the new team of archeologists to make sense of the field work that was carried out in 1981.

On a trip to the Auckland Islands with the Department of Conserva­tion in 2003, archaeologist Atholl Anderson investigated two of their campsites and carbon dated the contents of several earth ovens at be­tween the 12th and 14th centuries.

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Burnt hangi (earth oven) stones and charcoal from the surrounding rata and other subantarctic brush­wood were mingled with the bones of sealions, fur seals, albatross and several petrel species.

There were also the bones of coastal fish and mussel shells, indicating the people were well supplied with local food sources but did not venture far from the island for deep sea fish species.

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