Sunday August 24, 2014   Last updated 05:57AM
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Expressway dig reveals kumara-growing tricks

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Archaeologists are getting an insight into the early settlement of the Waikato through a dig near Cambridge.

Excavation director Matthew Campbell says the site is in the path of the new Waikato expressway.

So far, the team has unearthed three kumara storage pits, 10 fire scoops and seven borrow pits, where gravel and stones were mined to add to kumara gardens.

Dr Campbell says it's a sophisticated technology that was used 300 or 400 years ago as people moved in from the coast to the colder interior and looked for ways to give semi-tropical crops like kumara a longer growing season.

He says the pace of development in the Waikato is leading to an increase in archaeological work for site protection reasons, which is leading to a new understanding of how pre-European Maori used the resources around them.





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