Radiocarbon dates on desiccated moa (Dinornithiformes) flesh from Inland Otago, New Zealand

Remains of soft tissues from extinct moa (Dinornithiformes), mainly desiccated sinew, muscle, skin, and feathers have been recovered rather seldom but their distribution is distinctive. Of 22 records of such finds accumulated between 1864 and 1987, 15 came from inland Otago (Anderson 1989: 67–68, Table 5.2), west of Dunedin in the southern South Island. Most were found in the late nineteenth century (13 records) in rockshelters, clefts or alluvial sediments and were regarded at the time as evidence of the survival of moa up to about AD 1800 (Hutton and Coughtrey 1874a). Improbable as this latter point is, it has not been tested by radiocarbon dating until now. Our particular impetus to do so, however, arises in another way. It is from research, again largely within inland Otago, on Maori artefacts which have also been made from various other kinds of soft tissues (flax, grasses, dog skin, bird skin, feathers etc.). A series of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates on these (Anderson et al., n.d.) shows that they are exclusively late, post-AD 1650, which begs the question of why the age range does not extend across the full prehistoric period, beginning about AD 1300.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Anderson, A., Rowe, L., Petchey, F. & White, M. (2010). Radiocarbon dates on desiccated moa (Dinornithiformes) flesh from Inland Otago, New Zealand. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 1(2), 192-194.
New Zealand Archaeology Association