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Dr Karen GreigContact

Room 2C16
Tel +64 3 479 8739

Research interests

I am a Pacific archaeologist with a research interest in the colonisation of Oceania and the emergence of distinct Pacific cultures. I am particularly interested in how human-animal relationships have influenced the development of Pacific societies.

My research approach is based on archaeological and anthropological theories and methods, which I combine with ancient DNA and other biomolecular approaches to generate new data to address archaeological research questions. Drawing together two disciplines in this way enables me to gain a fresh perspective on research topics that would not be possible from a single disciplinary standpoint.

I have a regional focus on New Zealand, particularly around how the first East Polynesian migrants' interactions with wild and domesticated animals formed part of colonisation and adaptation processes. I am also interested in colonisation more broadly, including the role of trade and exchange. I often work in multi-disciplinary teams, combining archaeology with biological anthropology, molecular genetics and computer science.

I am Co-Director of Southern Pacific Archaeological Research (SPAR). SPAR is a research unit and consultancy in the Archaeology Programme, School of Social Sciences, at the University of Otago. SPAR is one of the leading archaeological and heritage consultancies in New Zealand, and promotes best practice in archaeological, historic and cultural heritage management. My work in this area draws on over twenty years of experience working in the heritage sector.

Visit the SPAR website

I am also a member of the Coastal People: Southern Skies collaboration that connects communities with world-leading, cross-discipline research to rebuild coastal ecosystems.

Visit the Coastal People: Southern Skies website



Greig, K., & Walter, R. (2021). A re-assessment of the role of dogs (Canis familiaris) in early Aotearoa New Zealand. Human Ecology, 49, 755-764. doi: 10.1007/s10745-021-00285-2

Greig, K., & Rawlence, N. J. (2021). The contribution of Kurī (Polynesian dog) to the ecological impacts of the human settlement of Aotearoa New Zealand. Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution, 9, 757988. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2021.757988

Greig, K., & Walter, R. (2020). Hinterlands, heartlands and history: Dynamic landscapes in New Zealand archaeology. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 11(1), 53-60.

Gaffney, D., Greig, K., Stoddart, D., Tromp, M., Field, J. H., Luu, S., … Russell, T., … Summerhayes, G. R. (2020). Tropical foodways and exchange along the coastal margin of Northeastern New Guinea. Journal of Field Archaeology, 45(7), 498-511. doi: 10.1080/00934690.2020.1786285

Greig, K., Boocock, J., Allen, M. S., Matisoo-Smith, E., & Walter, R. (2018). Ancient DNA evidence for the introduction and dispersal of dogs (Canis familiaris) in New Zealand. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 9(1), 1-10.

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