The team working at Horeke includes a rag tag bunch of archaeologists from England, Australia as well as New Zealand. Given that archaeologists are mad enough to love digging holes in the mud, why would an archaeologist come all this way to spend all day digging in the heat/rain and wind, getting tired and dirty just to end up with a bag full of pottery bits, old nails, and fragments of glass when they could dig at home? Firstly, it’s a beautiful location, in a fantastic, hospitable community and the food at the Horeke Tavern is wonderful. Most significantly, it would be hotter in Australia and rainier in England!
It’s also great meeting new people and working in a team of talented and interesting archaeologists, who have a variety of new ideas and techniques that we can use in the future at home.
Our bag of finds may look like rubbish – it is after all just the stuff that people lost or discarded over the years, but it can tell us a surprising lot. Things go in and out of fashion so the pattern on those broken plates can sometimes tell us how old they are and maybe gives clues about who used them and what kind of life they led.
Knowing how people lived in New Zealand adds to our understanding of what was happening in Australia at the same time, and it is always fun to put all the clues together to tell the story of the past.