ARC Laureate Fellow to delve into Pacific’s deep past

22 August 2014

Professor Matthew Spriggs from the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology has received $2.4 million in Australian Research Council (ARC) funding for his research investigating the hidden history of the Pacific.

He has won an Australian Laureate Fellowship, which will help fund his project, The collective biography of archaeology in the Pacific: a hidden history.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young congratulated Professor Spriggs on the fellowship, announced by Education Minister the Hon. Christopher Pyne.

“Congratulations to Professor Matthew Spriggs on his ARC Fellowship which will be of great benefit to archaeological research in the Pacific,” Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Young said.

The collective biography of archaeology in the Pacific: a hidden history, aims to establish the history of Pacific archaeology as a new sub-discipline within world archaeology, covering the period from the speculations of early explorers to the present.

Professor Spriggs said he was looking forward to working with a world-class team of early career researchers to delve into the deep past of the Pacific.

"This will be a fantastic boost to my research and new direction for it,” he said.

“I am looking forward to working with museums and other institutions worldwide to investigate archaeology's own history in the Pacific, and particularly with Pacific Islands' institutions.

“I also look forward to revealing a distinctly ‘Australian (and New Zealand) Story’ of the early contribution of scholars here to our knowledge of the region's past.”

Professor Toni Makkai, Dean of the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, congratulated Professor Spriggs.

“This is a wonderful outcome and very appropriate recognition of Matthew’s significant research profile and impact in his discipline,” she said.

Professor Margaret Harding, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), said the fellowship matched the University’s goal to establish ANU as the world centre for the study of the history of Pacific, Southeast Asian and Australian archaeology.

Professor Spriggs has been at the College of Arts and Social Sciences since 1997, and completed his PhD at ANU in 1981.

He has more than 35 years of professional archaeological research.