Meet Laura Dawson: specialist archaeologist in the Heritage Team. This 24-year-old is an activist of sorts. Her role at council is to advise on the preservation of the archaeological sites around Auckland.
For Laura, who says she looks forward to her job every day, archaeology is not only about bones and relics, it’s about the relationship between one item and the next, which, Laura says, helps us understand the bigger picture.
“I'm extremely lucky to work where I do. Every day I'm excited and challenged, getting to research and visit archaeological sites around Auckland, meeting diverse people from many different departments and expanding my own knowledge of Auckland’s history.”
The work is varied; visiting the Wilson Cement Works in Warkworth, old lime kilns, brickworks, old copper and manganese mines and other industrial sites; they’re all up there in the “enjoyability” stakes for Laura.
She says these incredible places, where early industry flourished with significantly less technology than we have today, are just astounding. The cement works, for example, look like gothic castle ruins.
The maunga (volcanic cones) around Auckland are places she gets to work with often. The ongoing care and maintenance is a highlight of her work, as these highly visible sites are the most intense archaeology that Aucklanders get to see on a daily basis.
For Laura, the complex terracing, pits, platforms and ditches of the maunga are very exciting. She says they are charismatic evidence of Auckland’s pre-European history; a part of which we all get to share and experience every day.