16 Oct 2013

Archaeological dig to rescue moa bones

6:56 am on 16 October 2013

An archaeological dig is under way to rescue the remains of a moa hunting site in North Otago.

Te Runanga o Moeraki has asked the Department of Conservation (DoC) to protect valuable items, such as moa bones and artefacts, which lie exposed due to erosion at the mouth of the Awamoa Creek, about 6.5km south of Oamaru.

DoC Otago historic technical advisor Shar Briden, who is leading the dig, says the site was first excavated in 1850 by public servant and naturalist Walter Mantell.

Mr Mandell sent large collections of moa bones to Richard Owen of the British Museum, who was the first scientist to identify moa species.

Ms Briden says what is uncovered over the next couple of days will provide useful information to determine a more concrete date for when the site was occupied.