Earthquake uplift and erosion of archaeological site L26/1 at the mouth of the Heaphy River DOC SCIENCE INTERNAL SERIES 149

Bruce Mcfadgen, James Goff
This investigation assesses the current state of the key archaeological Archaic Maori site L26/1, and the impact of erosion on the site. The assessment is based on two days' field observations, and an analysis of documentary evidence. The site is situated on shoreline deposits uplifted about 3 m prior to occupation and is directly exposed to erosion by both marine and fluvial processes. Erosion of the deposits is inferred from positions of the river bank recorded on a cadastral map surveyed in
more » ... al map surveyed in 1898 and aerial photographs taken in 1955 and 1988. During the last 105 years, the river bank has eroded at an average rate of 0.31 m/yr, and the erosion is likely to continue. By 1961-63, when the site was excavated, it had probably already been substantially eroded. Of the site that was present in 1961-63, only about half now remains. Options for DOC to mitigate further losses of information are discussed in the light of present and inferred future stability of the site. It is recommended that DOC work with the archaeological community and iwi to formulate a research programme to be carried out in collaboration with appropriate external organisations.