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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



C14 Dating

Radiocarbon analysis of charcoal, wood, shell, and bone is becoming increasingly valuable in dating New Zealand's pre-history. The method is still being perfected, but important results have already been obtained, notably the discovery that the country was settled by the Maori prior to the legendary Great Fleet of 1350, and that there was a large population between A.D. 1000 and 1200 in several areas. Dates ranging between approx. A.D. 1140 and 1640 have been obtained from Pounawea, South Otago, indicating that the site was occupied either continuously or periodically for 500 years. Other southern sites show a similar range of occupation, e.g., Papatowai, 1185–1640; Hawkesburn, 1350–1540. A date of approximately A.D. 1100 has been obtained from the Wairau Bar site. Motutapu Island (Auckland Harbour) has yielded dates of A.D. 1208 and 1768, showing that it was occupied during the important but little-understood “Intermediate” phase of culture.

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