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New discoveries from the early Māori village at Shag River Mouth, New Zealand, reveal intestinal parasites

by Mark Horrocks last modified 2024-03-08 10:46 AM

Horrocks M, Presswell B, Smith IWG. 2024. Archaeology in Oceania,


Presented here are results of archaeoparasitological analysis of habitation layers at Shag River Mouth, Otago coast. Two types of helminth egg were identified: The first type is Toxocara canis, associated with the introduced kurī dog (Canis familiari), which could have adversely affected local people and their dogs. The other type very closely resembles that of Stringopotaenia psittacea, associated with the critically endangered endemic kākāpō (Strigops habroptilus) parrot.

The results represent the first South Island archaeoparasitological identifications. As an aside, there was no starch or associated material in the samples, such as introduced Polynesian crops and indigenous starchy Māori food plants. This lack is consistent with the interpretation of the site as that of a transient village focused on big game hunting.


Polynesia, commensal, Ascaridida, Psittaciformes.

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