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Great Mercury Island expedition

Archaeologists excavate a garden site on Great Mercury Island

© Auckland Museum
Follow the Ahuahu Great Mercury Island Archaeological Project as archaeologists from Auckland Museum and the University of Auckland examine the history of Mori occupation on the island.

This is a long term archaeological project involving staff of both institutions and students from the university, and Ngāti Hei. Several times a year the archaeologists visit the island to carry out excavations which provide the data to then interpret how Māori lived in the past.

Learn about the techniques archaeologists use to extract information from the soil when excavating, and how they progress from excavation and scraping off the layers of soil to telling the story of what people did in the past. As the dig unfolds we'll be posting updates on the archaeologists' progress in the excavation diary.

  • Learn about the project

    Large-scale changes have occurred over the 1000 year occupation of Great Mercury Island. We're working to discover how people lived, how artefact styles developed, and how resources were used during this time.

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  • Meet the research team

    Meet the members of the excavation and laboratory teams who are working to answer the questions about Great Mercury Island's prehistory.

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  • Follow our excavations

    We visit the island three times a year to carry out excavations and survey. Our excavations are held in conjunction with the University of Auckland's archaeology fieldschool where students learn how to excavate and carry out recording.

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  • Our partners and supporters

    The Great Mercury Island Archaeological Expedition is a partnership between the Anthropology Department of the University of Auckland and Auckland Museum. We are working in collaboration with Ngāti Hei, and landowners Fay and Richwhite families.

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