Radiocarbon testing will be used to date human bones found during roadworks on Durham St earlier this year.

Tauranga City Council said the bones, known as koiwi, were found in March and the site was blessed the next day.

Heritage New Zealand was also informed.

The remains were mostly fragments and council-contracted archaeologist Sian Keith could not comment on the person's sex, height, other bodily characteristics or find any evidence of illness or injury.


Asked whether the bones were from a time before European settlement in the area, the council said Keith was working with the University of Waikato's radiocarbon dating laboratory to have the koiwi dated.

The bones were not the first archaeological find during the project.

In November, items dating back to the late 19th century were found when Durham Lane was dug up.

The finds included Worcestershire sauce bottles, alcohol bottles, medicine bottles, ceramic cups, willow pattern plates, shells and faunal remains for domestic food waste.

Last month the Bay of Plenty Times was the first to report a $3.3 million budget blowout on the project, which is now expected to cost close to $10m.

The paper also revealed the struggle retailers along the stretch faced as the works dragged on longer than expected.

Both the cost increase and timing were blamed in part on unexpected underground finds - archaeological as well as relating to infrastructure.