Stuart Hawkins

Dr Stuart Hawkins


Research activity per year

Personal profile


I received my Undergraduate and Masters Degrees at the University of Auckland. Soon after I became a Consultant Archaeologist spanning a 10 year period during which I worked on a number of prehistoric and historic period faunal assemblages in New Zealand. In 2009 I switched to academia focusing on early Neolithic interactions with fauna in the Vanuatu Archipelago in the Pacific and recently was awarded my PhD by The Australian National University. For the last two and half years I have been a Postdoctoral Research Associate on an Australian Research Council funded Laureate project titled: From Sunda to Sahul. This project is investigating the early movement of modern humans from Asia to Australia and adaptations to changing tropical island environmental conditions during dispersal and settlement over the last 50,000 years. I have worked on several faunas including reptiles, amphibians, mammals, fish and bird archaeological deposits throughout the Pacific region but am most well known for the discovery of an extinct giant land turtle in Vanuatu and several new species of extinct fruit bat.


Ph.D Archaeology

Research interests

Zooarchaeology; Exploring both prehistoric and historic period archaeofaunas to understand socio-economic human development within their ecological contexts. Themes explored during my research have involved human-ecological interactions, human impacts on island ecologies, transitions to farming, butchery practices, contact period socio-economic transitions and the introduction of domestic animals to colonized environments, as well as taphonomic assessment of the accumulation of archaeofaunal assemblages by both cultural and natural agencies. 


Landscape archaeology and GIS; Investigating the distribution of archaeological remains across the landscape within the context of the natural environment. The production of maps using CAD and ArcGIS software to graphically display this relationship and the linking of archaeological and environmental databases to maps to provide a holistic approach to complex models of cultural evolution.


Pacific prehistory; My interests have been focused on colonizing peoples and how they adapted to and modified initially pristine island ecologies within the Pacific. Specifically, my focus has been on Vanuatu as the gateway into the remote Oceanic region for the colonizing Lapita people, and early archaic period Maori settlement of New Zealand.


Palaeolithic; My current project focused on ISEA has given me access to deeper time averaged deposits with which to reconstruct human prehistory over time and space.


Historical archaeology; Subsistence, material, and built culture of European colonization and contact period Maori in New Zealand.

Expertise Areas

  • Archaeological Science
  • Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas
  • Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl. New Zealand)
  • Historical Archaeology (incl. Industrial Archaeology)
  • Maori Archaeology


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