Aerial Archaeology of the Southern Hawke's Bay Coast, New Zealand. (News & Notes)

By Jones, Kevin L. | Antiquity, March 2002 | Go to article overview

Aerial Archaeology of the Southern Hawke's Bay Coast, New Zealand. (News & Notes)


Jones, Kevin L., Antiquity


The primary objectives of this project were to record all sites showing in conventional vertical aerial photographs and to develop further small-format aerial photographic methodology for archaeological mapping. Small-format photographs (6 cm square or 6x4.5-cm negatives) provide high-resolution photographs of selected small sites (from 100 m square to 1 km square) and can be used as an inexpensive mapping base (Jones 1999). The main camera used was a Bronica Sq Ai with the standard 80-mm lens. In all, there were 16 useable runs at 2800' above ground level with 60% overlapping images taken in the southern hemisphere summer and winter of 1998. This provided an approximate scale of 1:10,000 on the negative and high-resolution prints. Scale and orientation of the photographs were subsequently determined by differential GPS observations in the field. Relief shading in low-angle sunlight with the benefit of the stereoscope was the main source of mapping data.

Survey results

Aerial photographic coverage was selective and focussed on areas where earlier reconnaissance showed major archaeological sites or concentrations of sites. FIGURE 1 shows the distribution of pa (fortified Maori settlements inferred to date from 450 to 200 years BP) in the surveyed area. Numerous pre-European raised-rim storage pits (for sweet potato) and pa were recorded at Porangahau and Kairakau. At Kairakau, two notable pa (V22/267 and 268) appear to control the gorge of the river leading into Mangakuri Beach (FIGURE 2). (Site numbers are from the New Zealand Archaeological Association site recording scheme.) These sites take advantage of level areas of ridge with steep sides and some small transverse ditches (formerly palisaded) providing the defences. Seawards of the modern town of Porangahau important discoveries were made on the river points. Two pa (V24/95 and V24/121) were built by throwing a ditch and bank across a point. FIGURE 3 shows part of V24/95. On the hill country to the north and adjacent to a stream fan is a site complex of pa and pits (V24/57, 58) (FIGURE 4). …

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