Mangahawea Dig Wednesday 8 January 2020


Follow the 2020 Mangahawea Dig with updates from our archaeologist Laura Dawson. Day three saw the sun shining for perfect dig conditions, but technology was the one holding up progress.

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

Today was absolutely perfect digging conditions - only a slight breeze, so we were able to erect the sun shades. It makes excavating all day much more bearable. We had some technical difficulties today, a frustrating hazard of relying on tech to record our data. It’s made for a lot more work the next few days to catch up what we have lost! Out here (with no electricity, internet or freshwater) these set backs can really impact our progress, so we are hoping for no further problems.

Areas 9 and 10 were excavated down beyond the agricultural soil today, and into a red, clean sand layer. Cut into this were another set of post holes - one of which had a charcoal deposit in the base. This is great news: the charcoal may be from the original post, and it can be radiocarbon dated. That may tell us the age of that post hole, and possibly of those around it. Around the interface between the agricultural soil and the clean sand there were also a number of small, ephemeral indents, which are the original ko (digging stick) marks from when the garden was established. These areas are nearly done, now that there is clean, natural sand at the base. Tomorrow we may open some new trenches and back-fill these ones.

Area 6 and 7, however, have continued through the intermixed top layer and into the next layer. These have slowed down a bit on the artefacts as this next layer is not artefact or feature rich. Similar to area 1 last year, we think that this layer will be mostly clean, and will overlay a significantly earlier deposit. One amazing thing to come out of the sieve this afternoon was a shell fish hook.

  • Preparing to dig

    A small service on the island for the Late Ian Smith

  • Day three dig in progress

    Russell Hook in Area 10

  • Day three dig in progress

    Nicholas Hall in Area 7, with John Coster in Area 6

  • Shell fish hook found on Day 3

    Shell fish hook found in Area 6

  • Perfect dig conditions for day three

    The hand sieves in action