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University of Otago

Department of Anthropology & Archaeology

Dr Tim Thomas

Archaeology Programme Coordinator
Senior Lecturer in Archaeology
Room 2C14
Tel 64 3 479 5213

Research Interests

Archaeology and historical anthropology of Oceania; Material culture of the Pacific region; Socio-cultural landscapes; Exchange theory; Cross-cultural contact in Oceania; The archaeology of colonisation.

Dr Tim Thomas


ARCH201 Archaeological Meethods
ARCH204 Pacific Archaeology
ARCH401 Archaeological Excavation
ARCH402 Material Culture Studies


I am currently working on projects based in the New Georgia region of the Solomon Islands. In the past I have worked on the material culture of late prehistoric/contact period Roviana, but since 2005 I have focussed on the islands of Rendova and Tetepare. Here I have worked with an indigenous conservation association to conduct archaeological and palaeoenvironmental surveys, gathering data to reconstruct the cultural history of these islands and their place in wider Solomon Islands prehistory.

Selected Publications


Sheppard, P.J., Thomas, T. & Summerhayes, G.R. (eds) 2009. Lapita: ancestors and descendants. NZAA Monograph 28. New Zealand Archaeological Association: Auckland.

Book Chapters

Thomas, T. 2012. Sensory efficacy in the material culture of New Georgia, Solomon Islands. In. L. Bolton, N. Thomas, E. Bonshek, J. Adams and B. Burt (eds): Melanesia: Art and Encounter. British Museum Press, London.

Thomas, T. 2012. New Zealand. In N.A. Silberman (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, 2nd edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

Thomas, T. 2010. First European Intervention - 15th to 18th centuries. In. World and Its Peoples – Africa and Oceania, Volume 8. The Western Pacific. Marshall Cavendish Corporation: Tarrytown, New York.

Thomas, T. 2009. Nguzunguzu, effigie d'avant de pirogue. In Le Fur, Y., ed. La collection: Musée du quai Branly, Flammarion, Paris.

Thomas, T. 2009. Communities of Practice in the Archaeology of New Georgia, Rendova and Tetepare. In Sheppard, P., Thomas, T., and Summerhayes, G., Eds. Lapita: ancestors and descendants. NZAA Monograph 28. New Zealand Archaeological Association: Auckland.

Thomas, T. 2008. The Long Pause and the Last Pulse: Mapping East Polynesian Colonisation. In Clark, G., Leach, F. and O'Connor, S. Eds. Islands of Inquiry: Colonisation, seafaring and the archaeology of maritime landscapes. Terra Australis 29. ANU Press, Canberra. Available Online

Refereed Journal Articles

FX.Ricaut, T.Thomas, M. Mormina, M.Cox, M. Bellatti, M. Mirazon-Lahr and R. Foley. 2010. Ancient Solomon Islands mtDNA: assessing Holocene settlement and the impact of European contact. Journal of Archaeological Science. 37 (6) pp. 1161-1170. Available online.

Thomas, T. 2009. Topogenic forms in New Georgia, Solomon Islands. Sites: a journal of social anthropology and cultural studies.6 (2): 92-118. Available online.

Ricaut, F.X., Thomas, T., Arganini, C., Staughton, J., Leavesley, M., Bellatti, M., Foley, R., and M. Mirazon Lahr. 2008. Mitochondrial DNA Variation in Karkar Islanders. Annals of Human Genetics. 72 (3): 349-367. Available Online

Walter, R., Thomas, T. and P. Sheppard. 2004. Cult assemblages and ritual practice in Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. World Archaeology. 36 (1): 142-157. Available Online

Thomas, T., Sheppard, P. and R. Walter. 2001. Landscape, violence and social bodies: ritualized architecture in a Solomon Islands society. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 7 (3): 545-572. Available Online

Thomas, T. 2001. The social practice of colonisation: re-thinking prehistoric Polynesian migration. People and Culture in Oceania. 17, pp. 27-46. Available Online

2nd Floor, Richardson Building
Castle St., University of Otago
Dunedin, New Zealand.
Tel  64 3 479 8751
Fax  64 3 479 9095