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New Zealand Shipwreck Could Pre-date Cook

Friday, December 20, 2013


MidgeBay-ShipwreckAUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND—New dating of timbers from a shipwreck in the North Island's Kaipara Harbor shows it was built around 1705. Made of wood native to Southeast Asia, it would probably not have lasted more than 50 years as a sea-worthy ship, meaning it would have reached New Zealand between 1642, when Dutch explorer Abel Tasman first explored the islands, and 1769, when Captain Cook made landfall. According to Cook's accounts, local Maori spoke of earlier shipwrecks. University of Auckland tree ring specialist Jonathan Palmer,  who dated the wood, is urging archaeologists to consider a full excavation of the site. The vessel is now buried in over 30 feet of sand.