Quartzite Hill Silcrete Working Floor

578 Crawford Hills Road, Galloway

  • Quartzite Hill Silcrete Working Floor.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5619 Date Entered 11th April 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Pt Sec 3 Blk XIX Tiger Hill SD (CT OT19A/355), Otago Land District, and the archaeological site known as the Quartzite Hill Silcrete Working Floor (NZAA site G42/4) thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero meeting on 6 September 2017.

City/District Council

Central Otago District


Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 3 Blk XIX Tiger Hill SD (CT OT19A/355), Otago Land District


Moa-hunters worked stone tools at this silcrete outcrop at Crawford Hills in Central Otago. The Quartzite Hill Silcrete Working Floor provided a source of stone and a place to make flakes and blades. It is one of several sites found in the interior of Otago, dating to the ‘Archaic’ phase of New Zealand’s prehistory (c. 1250-1500 AD). Archaeologists have noted a range of artefacts from the site. The site has cultural, scientific and archaeological significance.

More than five hundred years ago tangata whenua worked this silcrete and quartzite outcrop located above the Manuherikia River valley. Working stone was a time-consuming activity, and was probably seasonal. Silcrete outcrops, like this one, were a source of stone to make flakes and blades used as cutting tools, many of which appear to have been used to process moa carcasses.

Most quarries were small (300m2 to 2000m2). The greatest concentration of silcrete and porcellanite in Otago is in a broad band from Nenthorn to the Manuherikia Valley. Archaeologist Atholl Anderson reported there were 30 silcrete quarries and 15 porcellanite quarries for Otago, Southland, and South Canterbury. The main tools were flakes and blades, both struck from quarried cores. Most moa hunter’s flake tools are ‘primary flakes’ selected because they had an existing sharp edge.

Tangata whenua knew the Manuherikia landscape well. Some ten kilometres away was Ka Moana Haehae (the split waters), the junction of the Manuherekia and Mataau/Clutha. The Mataau/Clutha was a major ara tawhito (trail) used on coast-interior or coast to coast journeys. Tangata whenua would have made use of the silcrete quarries on these journeys. Nohoanga (camping places) were dotted along routes where there was kai (food) and shelter. The Waitaha people hunted moa and later, Kāti Mamoe and Kāi Tahu hunted weka and other waterfowl as well as fishing for eel in the late summer. Food was preserved by sun drying or cooking and placing in pōhā (kelp bags). Tikimu, a prestigious plant used for clothing, was also gathered in the area. Large amounts were often transported to the Mataau and then down the river to coastal kāinga (settlements). Māori place names are still visible in this landscape and “Manuherekia” implying the catching of birds, is a reminder of long term travel and intimacy with the region.

This site provides provides evidence of an ‘intensive flake industry’ with many industrial assemblages – including silcrete cores and hammer stones. The site was recorded by Hardwicke Knight, Jill Hamel and G. Mason on a field trip in March 1974. In 2016, the land is farmed.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

1974 -
Site recorded

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

6th March 2017

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Hamel, 2001

Jill Hamel, The Archaeology of Otago, Department of Conservation, Wellington, 2001

Anderson, 1989

Atholl Anderson, Prodigious Birds: Moas and moa-hunting in prehistoric New Zealand, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand.