Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Excavations for Moa Bones, in Glenmark, 1866

At the invitation of Mr. G. H. Moore, the New Zealand partner of Messrs. Kermode and Co., I proceeded at the beginning of December, 1866, to their fine property, Glenmark, where, during the drainage of some swampy ground, large quantities of moa bones had been discovered.

That gentleman, on my arrival, not only presented most generously the large and unique collection of remains of these extinct gigantic birds to the Museum in connection with the geological survey, but in order that I might judge for myself of the mode of occurrence, he page 144placed several workmen at my disposal, with, whom for a number of days I made some very successful archaeology excavations, having been anxious to find some skeletons, of which at least some of the principal bones were still lying together.

The results of these archaeology excavations surpassed my highest expectations, and towards the middle of December I returned to Christchurch, truly delighted with my success.

The generous gift of Mr. Moore, and the bones excavated under my direction, filled a large American four-horse waggon. The taxidermist to the Museum, the late Mr. F. R. Fuller, articulated under my direction from this collection the first seven moa skeletons, which still form such conspicuous objects in the Canterbury Museum, and were the beginning of that remarkable collection, with no rival in the world.

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