Monday, May 11, 2009



Archaeology is a scientific and humanistic discipline which studies past human cultures through the recovery and analysis of material remains, usually referred to in general as the archaeological record. The link below has a thorough description of the discipline:

New Zealand Archaeological Association

The New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA) is the principal organisation for archaeologists in the country. The website contains a useful discussion on alternate archaeological theories and how these differ from authentic archaeological research:

Bad Archaeology

"Bad Archaeology is the brainchild of a couple of archaeologists who are fed up with the distorted view of the past that passes for knowledge in popular culture. We are unhappy that books written by people with no knowledge of real archaeology dominate the shelves at respectable bookshops. We do not appreciate news programmes that talk about ley lines (for example) as if they are real."

Moriori Factoids

Many pseudo-archaeology arguments about NZ prehistory involve the Chatham Islands Moriori. These arguments are old and very persistent among members of the wider public even though they were completely discredited more than half a century ago:

Maori History

The history of the Maori people has also been subject to continual misunderstandings (usually for political agendas) within pseudo-archaeology and pseudo-history. The following sites are only intended as quick web-based resources, but provide a good starting point:

The 'Celtic New Zealand hypothesis'

A classic example of pseudo-archaeology. Martin Doutre, the main proponent, has no qualifications or training in archaeological method or theory. The following are links to websites where his ideas are countered:,A1372

The Phoenician hypothesis

The idea that Phoenician explorers discovered and settled NZ thousands of years ago. Popularised by Ross Wiseman who has no qualifications or training in archaeological method or theory:,A1267

The Chinese/1421 hypothesis

The hypothesis that the Chinese discovered NZ and helped establish traditional Maori culture is a popular pseudo-history / pseudo-archaeological idea best known by the publications of Gavin Menzies such as 1421. His work has been discredited by scholars from a variety of fields:

Further Reading

- Kevin, J., 2007. The Penguin Field Guide to New Zealand Archaeology. Penguin New Zealand.

"A book aimed at the general lay reader, which covers many of the most famous archaeological sites in New Zealand."

-Howe, K.R., 2008. The Quest For Origins. Penguin.

- King, M., 2003. The Penguin History of New Zealand. Penguin New Zealand.

- Davidson, J.M., 1987. The Prehistory of New Zealand. Edition 2. Longman Paul.

- Furey, L. and S. Holdaway (eds.), 2004. Change Through Time: 50 Years of New Zealand Archaeology. NZAA Monograph 26.

If anyone would like to contribute relevant resources to this list please leave a comment and I will try and incorporate it.