Three Pacific Tasters: Recent Archaeology in Vanuatu (and elsewhere)

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

There are three Pacific projects I am currently involved in which I hope will be of interest. The first, involving excavation at the 3000-year old Lapita Culture cemetery of Teouma on Efate Island in Central Vanuatu, is investigating the impact of initial human colonisation both on the organisms previously on the island, but also on the initially colonising humans themselves. After hearing this you will never want to be alone on a deserted tropical island again. The second involves the excavation of early Presbyterian Mission sites in the southern islands of Vanuatu dating to the second half of the 19th century, including 2014 fieldwork linked to the ANU Master of Archaeological Science field school. The final project is a new one starting officially at the end of next month looking at the history of Pacific archaeology, from its roots in 19th century ethnology to the present, and specifically examining the sources of the theories used at different stages of research. I will be joined by two postdocs, a research assistant and five PhD students (with hopefully more to come during the life of the project) for this five-year ARC Laureate Fellowship project.