Mangahawea Dig Thursday 16 January 2020


Follow the 2020 Mangahawea Dig week two with updates from Anna Maria Rossi, archaeologist turned Project Advisor. Today was all about wrapping up the dig and ensuring we backfill the excavated areas.

Today was effectively the last day of digging and it was a very long and tiring day. 

Our major task was to complete the archaeological investigations in most of the areas, including the documentation of the archaeological deposit and of the material retrieved from it.  We generally consider the on-site activity completed when we dig up the archaeological deposit down to the natural soil where there is no longer any evidence of human activity.

Then it was time to backfill the areas excavated.  Here at Mangahawea backfilling follows a beautiful tikanga that elevates it to a deep spiritual dimension and reconnects the whole archaeological process to the mana of the place.  The trenches we have dug up are like scars in the ground that need to be healed.  A branch of kawakawa, a traditional Māori medicinal plant for healing, was laid at the bottom of each trench accompanied by an ancestral karakia. 

The trenches could be then backfilled with the digger. 

Tomorrow it will be difficult to leave such a special place.  On behalf of Laura Dawson, myself and all those that participated in this wonderful project over the past two weeks, we hope you have enjoyed the blog and that it has given you an insight into the importance of the work undertaken here.

Ngā mihi,

Anna Maria

  • Getting ready for backfilling

    Getting ready for backfilling

  • Gear ready to be load on the boat tomorrow morning

    Gear ready to be load on the boat tomorrow morning

  • Karakia inside the trench
    Karakia inside the trench
  • After the karakia the digger can start backfilling
    After the karakia the digger can start backfilling