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Digging up the Past. Archaeology for the Young & Curious by David Veart

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Digging up the Past. Archaeology for the Young & Curious by David Veart. Pub. Auckland University Press 2011.

I do not often review non fiction works in this blog but this book sent recently to me captured my imagination.

“Our past is beneath us, but until you dig you never really know what you are going to find.” – this is the last line in this book with the previous 103 pages talking about how we find out about our past in New Zealand.

David Veart examines archaeological evidence of early settlement in New Zealand by the Maori, and analyses how it stacks up using modern techniques. He dates Maori settlement in Aotearoa at about 800 years ago and shows evidence of the Maori way of life from what was left behind.

He discuses early Polynesian navigators and how they discovered New Zealand by a planned attack rather than in a  haphazard way as first suggested. He examines the evidence found at the Wairau Bar and other Pa sites.

He also presents evidence of early European settlement in this country, Chinese settlements in the gold fields, the gun implacements on North Head and evidence in the Antarctic huts of Shackelton and Scott.

Well laid out with interesting maps diagrams and photographs. My favourite is the 4 legged moa with an elongated neck on page 18.

Fascinating stuff for children of all ages from primary to junior secondary school. Check it out.