Wairau Bar Archaeological Site
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Wairau Bar Archaeological Site

Wairau Bar—a 47-acre gravel bar 20 minutes from Picton, where the Wairau River meets Cloudy Bay—is among New Zealand’s oldest and most culturally significant archaeological sites thanks to the discovery of burial sites and an ancient garbage dump. The dump, or "midden," was from an early-13th- or 14th-century Maori settlement and includes discarded shells of mussels, cockles, pipi, tuatua and paua, plus food remains from birds, seals, fish, Polynesian dogs and Pacific rats—giving insight into how the early Maori settlers lived.

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