The Ministry of Culture and Heritage says Maori artefacts and taonga could be unearthed in Christchurch during the rebuild.
Two pounamu toki (greenstone adzes) were found near the city's Heathcote river last October which might have been brought to the surface by liquefaction.
A senior advisor with the ministry Liz Cotton says the items were discovered by a member of the public and given to Ngai Tahu who passed them to Christchurch Museum.
Ms Cotton says as the rebuilding starts similar artefacts could come to light.
She says the Historic Places Trust can order an archaeological dig where taonga are found.