Origins of archaeology in the Pacific: The emergence and application of archaeological field techniques

Michelle Richards, Hilary Howes, Elena Govor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    When was archaeology first practised in the Pacific as a distinct discipline that is, following a prescribed set of field methods to investigate human change over time, different from those used for other areas such as ethnology, geology, or linguistics? Did Pacific archaeology develop as the application of a metropolitan model, or did it evolve in situ, progressing in fits and starts and communicated only sporadically? We approach these questions by exploring the nature of early archaeological practice in the Pacific from the 1870s to the 1900s, as it was imagined in metropolitan manuals and instructions issued by German and British institutions, and comparing this with the development of actual practices in the field. We also discuss how early archaeological excavations and artefacts (prehistoric material culture) from the Pacific were interpreted, in prescription and in practice, and consider how these interpretations related to European perceptions of Pacific peoples.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)307-329
    JournalJournal of Pacific History
    Volume54
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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