Mangahawea Dig Thursday 9 January 2020


Follow the 2020 Mangahawea Dig with updates from our archaeologist Laura Dawson. After a few technical issues the team are rolling on and progressing nicely with new areas opening up.

Rākaumangamanga titiro ki Rapa Nui  
Rapa Nui titiro ki taputapu atea 
Raiatea taputapuatea titiro ki rākaumangamanga
Rākaumangamanga titiro ki motu Rangiātea
Motu Rangiātea titiro ki Mangahawea, Moturua ka tau

Day three on the Mangahawea excavation really showed how the pace of work has amped up significantly compared to the last couple of years. We opened the 5th trench of the week, with Area 10 being completed late yesterday and Area 9 coming to an end. They ultimately had the gardening soils, some small features (post holes etc) and the digging stick markings. Area 11 was opened up closer to Areas 6 and 7 - hoping again to catch the intersection of the gardening features of 9 and 10, and the unfolding archaeological remains in 6 and 7.

Areas 6 and 7 are now coming down to the early archaeology, which we can see in the presence of moa bone, including “tabs” which are the byproduct of fish hook manufacture. One of the best finds of the week was a beautiful worked shell, with very fine, bumpy edges. It’s so delicate we were worried it would break in the sieve, or in transit! Tomorrow these trenches should start to reach the base of the early archaeology, and hopefully some interesting features.

Much of the morning for one of my colleagues and myself was spent trying to fix the database, after the technical issues of yesterday. It was an unfortunate setback, but we have now caught up again and can hopefully move ahead.

It was a beautiful day and we had many visitors to the site. Since it's only accessible by private boat, we never expect too many people, but we gratefully welcomed over 50 people throughout the day. Our directors and kaumatua graciously showed off the excavations and told the story of the Bay.

  • Careful work during the dig

    John Coster in Area 6, with Area 7 in the background.

  • An archaeological find from day four

    A small, carved piece of shell from Area 7.

  • An archaeological find from day four

    A piece of Moa bone, possibly related to manufacturing of fish hooks.

  • Taking a break between digs

    The recording team, hard at work. Hans Dieter Bader and Sam Kurmann.

  • Discussing the days tasks

    Site director Dr James Robinson, giving a tour to some members of the public.