Early Preserved Polynesian Kumara Cultivations in New Zealand

By Higham, T. F. G.; Gumbley, W. J. | Antiquity, September 2001 | Go to article overview

Early Preserved Polynesian Kumara Cultivations in New Zealand


Higham, T. F. G., Gumbley, W. J., Antiquity


Archaeological evidence for prehistoric gardening practices in Polynesia includes stone boundary walls, storage pits and structures, drainage systems and evidence for the modification of soil, but often the remains of horticultural practise are ephemeral. Maori developed a range of novel modifications to their traditional horticultural methods which enabled the successful introduction of the range of Polynesian cultigens into the temperate New Zealand environment, the furthest southwards these crops were introduced. They modified the soil by adding charcoal, shell and alluvial gravels to change the friability and temperature retention, and stored tubers in semi-subterannean pits for the next growing season (Jones 1991: 14-8; Challis 1976). Here, we report what we believe is the first direct archaeological evidence for the actual layout of prehistoric kumara gardens in New Zealand. Our interpretation receives support from the accounts of early Europeans in New Zealand, including Joseph Banks and William Colenso.

During archaeological excavations at the S14/ 201 site near Hamilton City, in New Zealand, we identified an area of c. 1.2 ha of modifed garden soils (originally, the garden covered 6.7 ha but has been reduced in area by residential housing). The land was designated for a new road and the topsoil was removed using supervised mechanical excavators. In one area, we discovered the intact remains of a Maori garden. We found a group of small hollows which measured 0.26-0.34 m diameter and 0.03-0.1 m depth. The hollows were identified at the interface between the A and B soil horizons and were filled with sand which had been obtained from the Hinuera Formation volcaniclastic alluvium c. 1.5-2.0 m beneath the ground surface (FIGURES 2 & 3). Three large 'borrow pits' remain of an original seven which evidence this extraction process (we estimate 550-720 cu. m of alluvium and gravels were removed from these pits). We think the hollows were probably puke (small mounds which Walsh described as `about 9 inches high and 20 in. to 24 in. in diameter, set quite close together' (in Best 1976: 149)), used for planting kumara tubers.

[ILLUSTRATIONS OMITTED]

Two sets of hollows were identified and these abutted each other; one northern and one southern (FIGURE 1). The northern set measured 16.5x4.4 m on 8-9 rows (north-south). In this set there was an average of 0.5 m between the centres of each hollow. The southern set measured 9x5.8 m and was 14 rows wide. In this set there was an average of 0.43 m between the centres of each hollow and 0.33 m between rows. The northern set had an approximate density of 100-125 hollows per 10 sq. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Early Preserved Polynesian Kumara Cultivations in New Zealand
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.