About 20 archaeologists and iwi members have spent the past two weeks carefully excavating Mangahawea Bay on Moturua Island. A combination of radiocarbon dating, artefacts, animal remains and oral history suggest the Bay of Islands site is among the earliest human settlements in Aotearoa.

The archaeological dig at Mangahawea Bay on Moturua Island. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The archaeological dig at Mangahawea Bay on Moturua Island. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Kaumatua Matutaera Clendon and excavation director James Robinson welcome a group of open day visitors. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Kaumatua Matutaera Clendon and excavation director James Robinson welcome a group of open day visitors. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Excavation director James Robinson explains the site's history to open day visitors. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Excavation director James Robinson explains the site's history to open day visitors. Photo / Peter de Graaf

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Robyn Hall of Rawhiti (left) and Kiwi North curator Georgia Kerby excavate a trench. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Robyn Hall of Rawhiti (left) and Kiwi North curator Georgia Kerby excavate a trench. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Auckland University archaeologist Alex Jorgensen measures a hangi rake-out while DOC historic ranger Clayton Blackwood from Whangarei records the data. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Auckland University archaeologist Alex Jorgensen measures a hangi rake-out while DOC historic ranger Clayton Blackwood from Whangarei records the data. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Volunteer Darrell Collier of Rawhiti helps shift though soil from the excavation pits. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Volunteer Darrell Collier of Rawhiti helps shift though soil from the excavation pits. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Archaeologist Tom Barker with a razor-sharp obsidian flake found during the dig. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Archaeologist Tom Barker with a razor-sharp obsidian flake found during the dig. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Volunteer Justin Birch (Te Roroa) said he enjoyed
Volunteer Justin Birch (Te Roroa) said he enjoyed "finding out things about where I come from". His finds include part of a moa bone fish hook. Photo / Peter de Graaf