Australian archaeologists in the Pacific, 1974–94: A guide for non-specialists

23rd January 2014

Ian Lilley

Introduction*

The story of Australian archaeologists in the Pacific over the last 20 years is one set almost entirely in Papua New Guinea (PNG). There are important exceptions, of course. Matthew Spriggs’ work in Vanuatu springs immediately to mind, as do studies such as those by David Roe in the Solomons, Dirk Spennemann in Tonga and Peter Bellwood in the Cook Islands, Marquesas and elsewhere. By and large, though, the rest of us have concentrated our attention on eastern New Guinea and adjacent archipelagoes, and so it is on that region that this paper will focus. The names of certain individuals loom large—Jim Allen, Wal Ambrose, Jack Golson, Jim Specht and Peter White, in particular—as does that of the (then) Department of Prehistory in The Australian National University’s (then) Research School of Pacific Studies, but there are archaeologists now based from Perth to Townsville and beyond who have braved rain, malaria, and navy biscuits and tin pis3 to gain insight into PNG’s human past. I have not the space to treat more than a few of them individually, but I hope I do justice to everyone’s efforts in a way that informs the uninitiated without boring those who were there.

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

Lilley, I.
Australian archaeologists in the Pacific, 1974–94: A guide for non-specialists
December 1994
39
46–54
Article
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