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AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS OF NEW ZEALAND ARCHAEOLOGY

New Zealand has some 6,000 earthwork fortifications, the product of widespread warfare in the pre-European period from about A.D. 1500 to A.D. 1800. In addition, Maori quickly adopted and developed aspects of gun warfare in the nineteenth century: as many as 600 fortified sites were built or adapted from pre-European types. The Maori word for these fortifications is "pa" (pronounced as in "Ma and Pa").
A typical fortification consists of an elevated section of a ridge with ditches at either end. Ditches may extend around the sides, and there may be more than one ditch. Another form is a headland or end of a ridge with a ditch or ditches across the narrowest access point.
There are also many sites with storage pits, terraced housefloors and horticultural plot boundaries that show well from the air.
The aerial photographs in this compendium are low oblique (near vertical) or vertical images taken by Kevin L. Jones. Copyrightę1997 Kevin L. Jones/New Zealand Department of Conservation is asserted.
For further information, contact Kevin Jones at Department of Conservation, PO Box 10 420, Wellington, New Zealand or refer to:

  • Kevin L. Jones. Nga Tohuwhenua mai Te Rangi: A New Zealand Archaeology in Aerial Photographs. Wellington, Victoria University Press, 1994. ISBN 0 86473 268 6.
For a review of New Zealand archaeological aerial photographs, see:
  • Kevin L. Jones. The development of aerial photography in New Zealand archaeology. Aerial Archaeology Research Group News 13 (1996): 7-13 and 14 (1997): 13-22 (in two parts).
For New Zealand archaeology in general see:
  • Davidson, Janet M. The Prehistory of New Zealand. Auckland, Longman Paul, 1984. ISBN 0 582 71793 0 (This book is maintained in print.)
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Taranaki: A vertical view of a pre-European pa on the Patea River, south Taranaki. Access ways to the central platform(s) are defended by double ditches. From outer defence to outer defence, the site is about 280 m long. The photograph was taken in 6-cm square format, 80 mm focal length lens from 1600 feet AGL (490 m above ground level).
rewa_kl.jpg - 4381 Bytes Mosaic of vertical aerial photographs of Rewarewa pa, north Taranaki. At top of photo is the coast, at bottom the butts of an early 20th-century rifle range. The pa are located on a patch of high terrace. The pre-European pa is segmented and rectangular in plan and lies above the river. The wider area of the terrace is enclosed by a scarp or ditch probably constructed in the 19th century. From the river point (left) the prominent ditch running up and down the screen at right is about 500 m. The photograph was taken in 6-cm square format, 80 mm focal length lens from 1600 feet AGL (490 m above ground level).
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Hawkes Bay: Kahotea, an oblique (near vertical) photograph of a pre-European pa complex, southern Hawkes Bay. Each of the small pa is about 60 m long.
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Kohukete: one of the largest pa in Hawkes Bay. Measured along the curved ridge, the pa is about 300 m long. If you click on the photograph a new window will open, where you can view a semi-animated sequence of some aerial images. If your line is fast enough, you can have also a larger version.
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Te Wheao: this pa is about 100 m long. If you click on the photograph a new window will open, where you can view a semi-animated sequence of some aerial images. If your line is fast enough, you can have also a larger version.
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