Energy & Sustainability Furniture & Lighting
Prehistoric lumber
kauri01.jpg

Ancientwood, Ltd., is a US company that imports 50,000-year-old Kauri logs that have been preserved for millennia in peat bogs under New Zealand’s northern island. Besides its value as a conversation piece, ancient Kauri is mined, rather than logged, and no live trees are killed in the process. Kauri trees (Agathis spp.) thrive in New Zealand to this day, but supposedly the preserved ancient specimens have unique properties all their own, including a very rare form of iridescence called “whitebait.”

12 thoughts on “Prehistoric lumber

  1. Would this wood have any unique/attractive qualities for instruments? I would assume it would have adsorbed an interesting blend on minerals in 50K years.

  2. I would like to know which island is “New Zealand’s northern island” as there are several islands up north. I think they were trying to say “North Island”.

    1. Yes its called “the North Island” – its never reffered to as the northern island. Us kiwis are so inventive with out naming – can you guess what the one below it is called? I’ll give you a clue: its not the southern island…

      Also, Kauri is native and protected – they are not allowed to be logged any more. The “ancient Kauri” found under peat is the only stuff allowed to be used, as the tree is dead..

      http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-plants/kauri/

      Also, check out the most famous Kauri tree – 1250+ years old, Trunk girth 13.77 m, Total height 51.2 m

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C4%81ne_Mahuta

  3. The Māori names are much more interesting than “North Island” and “South Island” which I always found somewhat unimaginative.

    Te Ika-a-Māui (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te_Ika_a_Māui) for the north and Te Wai Pounamu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te_Wai_Pounamu) for the south.

    And the logs aren’t really mined. They are just dug up and dragged out of the ground. There did used to be an industry (100 odd years ago) around mining for Kauri gum though. There is a film of them digging up a tree here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU2vcYuutWA

  4. There’s never been a mining operation in history that never killed a live tree to get at the goods, despite the claims.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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