Volume 57 1948 > Volume 57, No. 4 > Results of further excavations at pa-site, Lake Horowhenua, by Richard Rolston, p 279-300
                                                                                             Previous | Next   

- 279

FURTHER excavations were carried out on this site in the autumn of 1947. (See J.P.S., Vol. 53, No. 4, and Vol. 56, No. 3.) Work was first commenced on and around a mound which I have termed No. 3 and later along the palisades stretching along the north-western side, and around the eastern side a short distance. The outer and main palisade consisted of matai posts (averaging 8 to 12 inches in diameter) and spaced at intervals of approximately 9 or 10 feet apart. The spaces between the principal posts (which were protruding above the surface of the swamp, and which below ground level, appear as sound as ever) were filled in with mainly lighter manuka and other palisading of a variety of timbers I did not determine.

I found on examination that the north-western side of the palisading ran in a straight line to where it curved round to the southern angle. At the eastern end the palisade turned at an obtuse angle, still carrying on in a straight line to where it reached the Mangaroa stream (now diverted). Three main posts were observed on this stretch which was the end of the palisading examined in this direction. The first main post on this eastern side, after turning the angle, was lying in a prone position (the only one so noted along the palisade examined, all the other posts still being in a vertical position), which would make it appear the palisade had at this point been breached by the rou or koromanga method described by Elsdon Best in The Pa Maori, p. 117.

The lighter stakes or posts which filled in the spaces between the main palisade posts rarely penetrated the ground for more than 18 to 20 inches. I dug alongside a smaller one of the principal posts for a depth of over 3 feet (the water filling up the hole very freely) in an endeavour to remove it to examine the treatment of the butt-end, but was unable to extract it. I have concluded these posts must penetrate the ground for quite 5 feet.

- 280

A considerable number of rotted-off stake butts (some of considerable size), were encountered inside the outer fence, but no special order was apparent. A number of totara stakes (made from canoes) were found; these were perhaps hut posts. Approximate measurements of pa: long axis is 66 yards in length; width across mound 2 at north end, 35 yards; width across mound 1, 28 yards. A point of interest was a bed of heavy stakes just below the surface, of an area of about 3 feet by 4 feet, so close together that the ground could not be dug at this point. This may have been intended for a pavement, or may be the broken-off remains of some structure. The stakes were between mound 1 and the adjoining palisading.

Close to the north-eastern corner of this pa, adjacent to the prone palisade post was an area of approximately 5 square yards paved very solidly with stones. This feature was observed at mound 3 which will be discussed later.

Six more adzes were obtained adjacent to and among the broken-off stakes among the palisading, these with one obtained from the small mound 3 making a total of fifteen adzes from this area.

Fig. 5 depicts a greenstone adze 3½ inches long, and not quite 1¾ inches wide 1 inch from the edge; the greatest depth is nearly ¾ of an inch. The saw-cuts which detached this piece from its adjoining piece are still in evidence; the central break and part of one saw-cut have been partially ground down. Two gaps mar the cuttingedge which shows evidence of much use.

Fig. 6 shows a baked argillite adze of a deep grey colour with a sub-triangular section. The face of this adze has been partly ground and still shows the cleavage surface produced on detachment from its parent block. The back is very convex lengthwise and has been ground from cutting-edge to the poll in a continuous unbroken arc. The back appears to have followed the line of cleavage also. The sloping sides show little grinding. Measurements: length, 4⅛ inches, width at cutting-edge, 2 3/16 inches. A greenstone adze of a pale green colour was found close to the above argillite adze. This has a very keen edge, perhaps the sharpest in my possession. Measurements: length, 2⅝ inches, width 1 7/16 inches. This adze as well as the two above adzes were from No. 2 mound.

- 281

The three adzes following are from No. 1 mound. The first of these is an adze of baked argillite, light-grey in colour with a few darker coloured veins running through it. It is really a spawl or flake with a cutting-edge ground at one end, and with the undulating surfaces of the back and front planes of cleavage in the hollow parts polished, while the higher surfaces show some light grinding. Measurements: length, 2¾ inches; width, 17/8 inches.

A greenstone adze of superior finish was obtained (see Fig. 7), ground on all surfaces save the poll, which was the case with the other greenstone adzes from this site. This adze is very thin and presents a quadrangular section, which also applied to the other greenstone adzes obtained from this pa; another feature also present on the above adzes is a shoulder where the bevel surface to form the cutting-edge impinges on the back. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this adze is the colour, which for over half the surface of the face is rust-brown with some flecks of faint green showing, while a fair proportion of the lower or distal end of the blade is a dull olive-green still with much of the rust-brown in flecks and faintly showing through the green. The olive-green on the back of this adze is intermingled with much rusty-brown showing through the body of the colour, the rust-brown being more dominant where the joints run into the stone. Measurements: length, 418 inches; width, 218 inches at edge, which shows evidence of much use.

Elsdon Best in The Stone Tools of the Maori says (p. 196): “Totoweka.—A variety of kawakawa containing stains and streaks of red iron-oxide.” T. R. Chapman in “The Working of Greenstone by the Maoris” (in Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, Vol. 24, 1891) says (p. 36): “There is one word here, totoweka, which would mean weka's blood—it must be the variety with red streaks or spots.”

Further on p. 55 of the same paper, No. 17: “Reddish or brownish axe is listed doubtful, possibly totoweka. This is an extremely rare stone, very pale, with a reddish or brownish tinge.” Also No. 18: “Dark-red axe, is listed as doubtful, possibly totoweka. This is a very dark and very hard stone, with light patches which show its affinity with the last, though nothing could well be greater than the contrast between them.”

- 282

On p. 56, No. 22: “Pendant listed as tangiwai, and possibly totoweka. In this piece, 4 inches long, a piece of tangiwai is banded with about twenty-five transverse streaks of opaque reddish stone. This is due, no doubt, to the infiltration of iron impurities into a much jointed stone.”

Further on p. 59: “Hei tiki.—It is of totoweka of a singular colour.”

From the foregoing extracts it is not quite clear whether the term totoweka applies to the colour only, irrespective of whether the greenstone be of nephrite or bowenite. Chapman refers to items in nephrite, and one in tangiwai (bowenite) as possibly totoweka. The adze from the pa would appear to come under the term totoweka, and the material is nephrite.

An adze (see Fig. 8) of baked argillite showing a range of colours from black to varying shades of grey was unearthed. The grey has some black veining running through it. This adze shows more elaboration than the other adzes from this site. A slight ridge is present where the bevel-surface meets the back formed by a reduction of the back at this point. The poll has been partially rounded, as is also the case with two other adzes from this site. Measurements: length, 4¾ inches; width, 2⅛ inches at the edge. An adze found not far away shown to me is of interest in that it had a band of black colour (about half of the whole) running lengthwise, and also a band of light-grey colour running parallel without intermingling of the colours. The section of this is very similar to the previous adze, save that it is narrower and of a greater depth.

A baked argillite adze is figured from a noted pa close to Hawera. Fig. 9.

A noticeable characteristic of adzes obtained at this site is their comparatively broad width as compared with their rather short length. A few adzes which I inspected from the Tasman Bay area ranged in section from quadrangular to subtriangular, and are very similar to the adzes from this pa-site—so much so that there would appear to be an affinity in some of the types on both shores. A long whetstone of thin section showing a fair amount of use was located in mound 1, being 11 inches in length, 3 inches in width, and ⅝ of an inch in depth.

- 283

A pigment pot in pumice was among the finds; one end being raised above the level in an inverted “V” fashion, a characteristic noticeable in two wooden troughs unearthed at mound No. 3.

Fig. 5A shows a worked object in fairly dense pumice weighing 4 ounces, and of an unusual form. In its upper portion it has a nearly circular section, while at section A at one side it is brought to a blunt edge which may be observed on referring to the drawing, while the other side is rounded. This artifact has been ground on all parts, save in the depressions which are characteristic of pumice. I cannot determine whether this object (which is partly wedge-shaped) is a top (potaka) for which the size is suitable, or is perhaps a charm of some sort.

A fairly large unworked block of pumice was found here, and a small lump of kauri gum, the latter no doubt being intended for use as a masticatory. (See J.P.S., Vol. 56, No. 3.)

A small oval-sectioned bruising or flaking hammer was obtained here of waterworn stone (as were all the small hammer or bruising stones found here previously). This shows evidence of much use towards one end, and a bruised strip also occurs along both narrower edges.

Two pieces of flint were found, one being a small core; also a good obsidian flake, this being the second piece of obsidian found on this site. In marked contrast to the scarcity of obsidian was the comparative plenty of flint.

Of particular interest perhaps was the finding of a number of ancient stone-cut wooden implements. These were thrust in and also mislaid in the soft swamp surrounding the built up mounds; mainly, however, in my case, adjoining what I shall term mound No. 3.

The first wooden artifact to be described from the lake-side pa is a cultivating implement of the same family as two in possession of the Rev. H. Kings, Levin, described at the end of this article. This has a blade of the same type, save that the face of the blade merges into the handle without the well defined margins of the northern articles. The handle which was not well finished possessed no knob. Unfortunately the material was somewhat perished and broke into three pieces on removal from the ground.

- 284

Five fern-root beaters (patu aruhe) were unearthed from this area, the wood of all five being manuka, and tending to some weathering of the surface. The main features of these beaters may be observed by referring to Figs. 10-13. They ranged in length from 9 to 14 inches. The very thin grips, a feature also noted in an adze haft from this site, were a noticeable characteristic of several.

Two troughs or bowls were obtained here, the smaller, Fig. 14, being 9 inches in length, and the greatest width 3¾ inches. One end has been partially broken away. This is somewhat canoe-shaped with the ends raised in an inverted “V” manner. The material is totara, in a fairly sound condition, but with some weathering of the surface.

The second and larger bowl or trough, Fig. 15, like the first, has one damaged end; a small fragment of one side-edge is also missing. Of superior manufacture and design, this has also the raised inverted “V” formation at the ends, a small knob or handle is present at the sound end. A number of short-grained end-fragments including what is perhaps the missing handle were found nearby. A wooden plug has been neatly fitted in a hole in the bottom. No carving is present on either bowl. The wood is probably pukatea, which is still in very fair preservation. Length, 20 inches; width, nearly 7½ inches. A handle about 4 inches long, with a portion of a bowl attached was found nearby, and also quite a number of wooden fragments of articles.

A spear-point (tara) of manuka 12¼ inches in length was unearthed. Greatest diameter ⅝ of an inch at five inches from the tapering well-formed point. A reduction at the proximal end extending for 1⅛ inches is present to permit its being lashed to a spear shaft. No barbs are present, and the section is an oval. This was the only spear-point obtained.

Elsdon Best in the Forest Lore of the Maori, pp. 196-197, describes spear-points made of hardwoods and of “the hard black parts of the stems of a tree fern (Cyathea deal-bata)” and that of the latter “The Tuhoe folk say that their elders used the katote only as a makeshift for temporary use, and that they did not work barbs on it.” This point may have been meant for temporary use, but the workmanship displayed in its manufacture would indicate otherwise.

- 285

A fragment of a shaft with side extensions to form a knob was among the finds as well as a fragment of a spear shaft, 16 inches in length, well finished and almost as true as a lathe would turn it out. Diameter 11/16 of an inch at one end, tapering to 10/16 of an inch at the other end. A similar well-worked piece was found at mound 1. A piece of mapara (probably kahikatea or rimu) 18 inches long, and pointed (bluntly) at either end was obtained. One end had a fairly long taper, while the other end had a much shorter one. But little work is present on the shaft. The use of this implement (turu or purupuru) may have been for caulking the lashing holes of canoes and their top strakes.

A piece of plank from this area, with a fractured break at both ends, and on one side-edge is of interest. Length, 4 feet, and between 3 to 3½ inches in width. The adzed thinner edge averages a little more than ⅜ of an inch in thickness, while the split edge averages 1 inch in width. One face and edge is neatly adzed, while the other or back face shows very rough adze cuts, evidently the initial adzing out. These cuts appear to have been made by an adze with a skewed edge. Nine holes appear near the thinner edge, averaging about a ½ inch therefrom, and of an average diameter of ⅜ of an inch on the surface, but narrower as the hole gains depth. Some of the holes which are about 4½ to 5 inches apart, appear to have been cut from the back also. A stone chisel would appear to have been used in making these perforations.

In J.P.S., Vol. 41, No. 4 is figured in an account of “Additional Stone-cut Artifacts from Waverley” by T. W. Downes, a somewhat similar object, but with less holes, however, which, it is suggested, “is possibly a portion of a rake for kakahi (Diploden lutulentus).” Several notched rods similar to Figs. 32-33 in the above paper were also found, but longer and heavier.

A piece of adzed wood averaging ⅜ of an inch in thickness, and 1½ inches in width, with a length of 8¾ inches, has a perforation at both ends, evidently made with a chisel.

A superior adze-haft (kakau toki) and an adze-head subtriangular in section made of light-grey argillite with black veinings were found in conjunction with each other, although the lashings were not in evidence, no doubt having - 286 perished many years ago. See Figs. 16-16A. These implements were thrust at an angle into the soft swamp surrounding mound 3. The haft is still in very fair preservation, and carries a nice finish with much of the original polish still in evidence. A wide concave depression is present in the lower front of the foot, apparently for the more convenient seating of these subtriangular adze types. A groove is present at the lower part of the foot, while another is present above where the handle joins the foot.

A poorly worked adze-haft in a somewhat deteriorated condition was also found. Both hafts appear to have been made from manuka.

A well-used grindstone (hoanga) of greywacke was found at this mound.

A wedge-shaped artifact, material manuka, was obtained from mound 1. Measurements: length, 15¾ inches; greatest width, 2⅜ inches; width across distal edge, ¾ inch; greatest depth, 1⅜ inches. This implement, while it is somewhat wedge-shaped, would not appear to lend itself to use as a wedge for splitting timber owing to a curvature throughout its side length, particularly on account of the more pronounced curve present at the lower end. The edge would in my opinion be too narrow for entering wood unless it had previously been partly split open. The buttend shows no sign of having been struck with a maul (ta). This piece would, I think, rather lend itself to hafting as a hoe (toki hengahenga) or as a pick for cultivating purposes. Again, it may have been used for loosening earth or sand (both of which were used in the building up of the several mounds examined) for the greater ease of shovelling into baskets. The butt-end has been charred for several inches which has kept that surface from deteriorating. The rest of it has developed surface cracks as is usual with most wooden objects from this area.

Elsdon Best in the Stone Implements of the Maori, from page 21 onwards, discourses on the toki hengahenga, and figures two of these tools in the Dominion Museum.

What appears to be a very old implement was unearthed. Measurements: 2 feet 7 inches in length, and 1¾ inches in width, with a depth of 1⅛ inches. With rather deep cracks, it is ovoid in section, while both ends have - 287 convex edges. It would appear to be a form of cultivating implement. Material manuka.

Several implements with a similar edge to the last tool were observed, but having a rough knob at the other end, and having a length of about 4 feet. However, owing to the decayed nature of their very inferior wood, it was not possible to unearth them without breaking.

A fragment of the outer side of a blade, 8 inches long, with a slightly raised side-edge, would appear to be a similar type of implement to the scoop described in the J.P.S., Vol. 53, No. 4.

A piece of worked wood approximately 6 inches long, by 2 inches wide, with a similar depth was among the finds. Flat on one surface, with a rounded section on the rest of surface, one end is rounded while the other end is squared. A groove is present near the square end, which continues round from one edge of the flat surface till it meets the opposite edge. This groove would lend itself for lashing purposes. This object may be a step for a digging stick (ko).

A wooden implement apparently of the spade family was found. It is 2 feet 10 inches in length with a width across the flat blade of 2⅛ inches. The blade merges into the handle with a very gradual taper. The top end of the handle is missing, so the original length cannot be ascertained. The back of the handle and square-edged blade are charred. This implement may have been used to cover ovens (umu or hangi) with earth, or for cultivating purposes. Material, totara.

A wooden spade or shovel with a raised rim or cant on one side (a strip of the other raised side has been split off) was found a little distance from mound 3 through the aid of a spear. Elsdon Best in The Maori terms this form “the hoto.” He says: “It was not apparently used in the cultivations, but in such work as constructing a pa, for removing earth.” The handle is 20 inches in length, flattened oval in section, and has side-extensions at the butt-end, thus forming a flattened knob. The blade which is cracked for the greater part of its 17 inch length, has a width of approximately 6 inches; the original width would be about 7 inches. A perforation cut from the back of the blade with a chisel may be observed on referring to Fig. 18. A spade described - 288 previously in J.P.S., Vol. 53, No. 4, is figured for comparison in Fig. 23.

Fig. 17 illustrates the only carved piece secured by me at this site. It has a length of just under 11 inches and a diameter rather less than ¾ of an inch. It will be observed on referring to the sketch that one end shows a reduction extending for 2 inches. This would appear to be meant to accommodate the hafting of a chisel. If this is the case, part of the carving might have been covered by the lashing when the chisel would be in position. The carving would appear to have been done by a sawing or grooving method, or at least smoothed with a groover to impart a finish to the cuts. One side of the larger carving—the opposite to that shown in the sketch—has scaled off somewhat, and a little deterioration is also present at the back portion of this part; otherwise this chisel-haft is in excellent condition. Material, manuka.

A paddle, Fig. 21, of superior form and finish was found with the handle-end protruding from the swamp some 7 inches. This would go to show the swamp had sunk at least to the extent of seven or eight inches, since the lowering of the adjoining lake. The paddle had been thrust into the swamp in an almost vertical position. The handle had weathered away a little on one side just where it protruded, and must have been exposed for some years. The material appears to be heart pukatea, which would account for its present good preservation.

The circular-sectioned haft where it leaves the blade has a diameter of 1 7/16 inches; below the knob the diameter is 11/16 of an inch while the length of handle is 2 feet 6 inches. The length of blade is 2 feet 8 inches and the greatest width of blade 4⅝ inches. The back of the blade is sharply defined, and is slightly raised where it joins the haft, while at the distal end is a raised ridge 2¼ inches in extent, sloping away to the side-edges, giving a flattened triangular section at this point. This feature I have not noted previously, and it would seem to be present to reinforce the point of the blade. The back of the blade is moderately convex. The haft carries into the face of the blade for approximately 6 inches as a raised semicircular ridge, gradually flattening out till it entirely merges into the blade, which is ⅞ of an inch thick at this point. The face - 289 of the blade is slightly concave for three-fifths of its length. This is a splendid specimen of ancient stone-work in excellent preservation.

Fig. 22 is a paddle in excellent preservation, made from manuka, and is 4 feet 2 inches in length. The haft is a short one, being 19 inches in length. This is caused through the grain of the timber running across at the upper part of the handle, and also by several shakes in the timber at this point. The old-time workman smoothed this end off as well as the grain of the timber would permit. The length of the blade is 2 feet 7 inches, and the width 35/8 inches. The back of the blade is very markedly convex; the face is very concave also, but the concavity is less marked than the convexity due to the increasing thickness towards the centre of the blade. The blade exhibits the same raised triangular feature at the distal portion as the previous paddle. While the handle is well smoothed, the blade shows evidence of a rough-edged scraper having been used, and lacks the final finish of the pumice or scoria burnisher.

Fig. 20 depicts a slight paddle worked down from a totara plank, the original surface of which is still present on the face of the blade, which is flat, while the back is transversely convex. As the lower portion of the blade is approached, a chamfering of the side-edges for a length of 8 inches is present (as may be seen on consulting the sketch), giving a triangular section for 2½ inches. The back and side-edges have been splayed or curved backwards to form this feature. The back of the blade still shows the adzing marks (which have been done very neatly, evidently with a small sharp adze), no scraping or smoothing being present on the blade. The haft, however, which ends in a rough unfinished knob, has been well smoothed. Length, 4 feet 2½ inches.

Fig. 19 shows a paddle retrieved from the same area while draining operations were being carried out. This artifact was presented to me by Mr. Vincent. A little weathering of the surface is present, but the manuka of which it is made is still very sound. The haft towards the upper end is turned to one side, and wedge-pointed, which would indicate that the implement may have been used for caulking purposes. The blade which is 2 feet 2½ inches in length, is slightly convex on both faces, and has a width of - 290 3⅞ inches, but lacks the triangular-sectioned feature of the three preceding paddles. Unfortunately for the lack of oiling on retrieving, the lower portion of the blade cracked rather badly. Overall length is 4 feet 8 inches.

The last to be described is the fragmentary remains of a canoe-shaped bird-snaring trough (waka kereru) found in the soft swamp adjoining mound 2. Greatest width 5¼ inches—18 inches from the end; greatest depth (present) at same point, 6½ inches. There were suspension holes (now broken out) 8 and 7 inches respectively from the canoe-shaped end. The present overall length is 2 feet 8 inches. The original length of this trough, which carries the appearance of great age, would appear to have been 5 to 6 feet.

Elsdon Best in the Forest Lore of the Maori, p. 301, says: “This water-trough method seems to have been evolved in the north, either in the Waikato district or further north; at several places south of the former district, natives have stated that the custom was not an old one with them, but had been introduced from the north. The Ngati Porou folk told me that the water-trough was not used in their district; the Tuhoe people stated that their elders did not use them until just before the advent of Europeans; Tamarau Waiari said that they were first used at Ruatahuna about 1839. An old settler of the Otaki district who has done much pigeon shooting in the ranges tells me that he never saw a single hewn-out elevated trough, and only one waituhi formed by hollowing out a big root of a rata tree on the Hanawera ridge, near Manakau.” This place is twelve miles from this pa area. In view of the above, the finding of this ancient hewn out trough is of great interest, and proves the method of snaring pigeons by the water-trough method was known to these ancient people of Horowhenua.

This, the third paper dealing with “Excavations on a Pa-site at Lake Horowhenua,” reveals several points of interest. One of the foremost of these is the apparent breaching of the main outer palisade by means of the rou method; another point is the comparative plenty of greenstone in relation to other stones used for cutting implements; and thirdly, the fine range of old stone-cut wooden implements recovered. A further point of interest is the similarity of some of the adzes at the above site, to some adzes seen from the Tasman Bay area.

- 291

Several high-class wooden artifacts from North Auckland, the property of the Rev. H. G. Kings, of Levin, may be compared with those from Horowhenua. An excellent fernroot beater (patu aruhe) (Fig. 1) was found on the beach just below high-water mark with the body-end just protruding at Paki, Kaipara Harbour, North Auckland. This is a high-class example of stone-age work, symmetrical and well finished throughout, of a light-golden colour and still carrying a good polish. The material is possibly a kauri forked root or branch of a hard flint-like character. The distal end of the body shows some abrasion, no doubt through use. A number of fine cracks are present. Length, 14 inches. The cross-section is a slightly flattened circle.

Fig. 2 depicts a patu, 11 inches long, which may have been used as a carving mallet. A quite noticeable depression may be observed. The artifact may also have been used to beat flax or fern-root, as there is a noticeable accretion of some foreign matter adhering to the beater.

This artifact which lacks the fine finish of the previous beater is of very well preserved manuka, and is apparently post-European, possibly from the early whaling days, as witness the proximal and distal ends which appear to have been cut with a steel saw. This item was unearthed while drainage operations were being carried out in a swamp at Waitaere, near Kaeo, North Auckland.

A fine cultivating implement of the type ketu, pinaki, or wauwau (see Elsdon Best, The Maori) was obtained at Matangirau near Whangaroa Harbour, North Auckland. This has a sinuate type of handle as may be seen on consulting Fig. 3. A similar type of handle is also present in Waikato. The face of the paddle-shaped blade is sharply defined where it merges into the handle, as is also the case with the following artifact. A slight crack is present at the distal portion of blade, but the implement is in splendid preservation, and still carries a fair polish. Material a light-coloured hardwood.

The next artifact, Fig. 4, is very similar to the last, but has a nearly straight handle, while the knob is in an unfinished state. It also lacks the fine finish, while some weathering of the surface is present. Material, titoki.

- 292
FIG. 1., Fig. 2.
- 293
FIG 3., Fig. 4.
- 294
Fig 5. A.
- 295
Fig. 5., Fig. 6., Fig. 7.
- 296
Fig. 10., Fig. 11., Fig. 12., Fig. 13.
- 297
Fig. 14., Fig. 15.
- 298
Fig. 16., Fig. 16A., Fig 9.
- 299
Fig. 8., Fig. 17, Fig. 18.
- 300
Fig. 19, Scale 1/8, Fig. 20, Scale 1/7, Fig. 21, Scale 1/9, Fig. 22, Scale 1/7, Fig. 23, Scale 1/7