Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Associate Professor Ian Barber

ContactIan Barber_large

Room 2C19
Tel 64 3 479 8758
Email ian.barber@otago.ac.nz

Research Interests

New Zealand Māori and Moriori archaeology; cultural change and contact; archaeological resource management and politics; anthropology of revitalisation and religion; agricultural innovation and introductions in New Zealand and Polynesia.

I specialise in the study of dynamic historical environments, including new uses of the past. I apply innovative and frequently interdisciplinary theory and methods to investigate changing relationships between material and social environments. I work closely and in collaboration with several New Zealand Māori and Chatham Island Moriori communities in my research.

Courses

ANTH103 Anthropology, Culture and Society
ARCH301 Archaeological Practice
ARCH304 New Zealand Archaeology
ARCH404 Archaeological Theory

Current Projects

Archaeology of agricultural innovation and introductions in New Zealand and Oceania

In this research I investigate the archaeological evidence of Polynesian agronomic innovation and change over time and space. This work incorporates research into the early development of Polynesian crop production systems, and the pre-Hispanic introduction and dispersal of sweet potato in Oceania. Important recent outputs include papers in World Archaeology (2010), Rapa Nui Journal (2012), and Archaeology in Oceania (2013). This research has been extended and supported by two Royal Society Marsden awards on which I am PI and AI respectively. These are concerned with tropical agricultural contributions and adaptations (“Pushed to the limits” UOO1415), and animal-human relationships (UOO1322, P. Wehi PI) in the Polynesian colonization of New Zealand.

First contact in Polynesia

I engage archaeology and historical anthropology to investigate the original settings and outcomes of first contact in Polynesia, including encounters that have become iconic national events, and/or associated with violent events and claims of cannibalism. I have reported the New Zealand phase of this research in national media and public lectures in New Zealand and the USA (Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies, Georgetown University, and The Field Museum, Chicago, October 2011). I have published on this research in Current Anthropology (Barber 2012).

Moriori archaeology

A collaboration with Moriori authority Hokotehi Moriori Trust is framed to research and offer advice on the conservation of living kopi trees carved historically by Chatham Island Moriori, and to investigate the archaeological chronology, meaning and landscapes associated with this tradition. This project has resulted in considerable national media interest and several publications in national and international journals (Barber 2012; Barber & Maxwell 2011; 2012; Barber et al. 2014).


Cultural identity and the material past

I investigate how engagements with historic materials and places support identity formation at national and other community levels, applying a hybrid methodology between archaeology, anthropology and heritage studies. For example, in an international research project initiated in 2006 as a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University (Center for the Study of Religion), I have published and presented on the relationship between place, the material past, and identity. In a recent extension of this project, I received a Fulbright (New Zealand) Senior Scholar Award in 2010 to study links between the past and present in revitalization movements, with a focus on LDS (Mormon) communities in the US and Polynesia. For the duration of this award I was based in the Department of Anthropology at Brigham Young University, Utah, Fall semester 2011. My most recent publication in this area explores the historical anthropological engagement between Māori and Mormon prophet movements (Barber 2015).

^ Top of page

Publications

Barber, I. (2019). [Review of the book Tangatatau rockshelter: The evolution of an Eastern Polynesian socio‐ecosystem]. Archaeology in Oceania, 54(2), 127-128. doi: 10.1002/arco.5171

Maxwell, J. J., McCoy, M. D., Tromp, M., Hoffmann, A., & Barber, I. G. (2018). The difficult place of deserted coasts in archaeology: New archaeological research on Cooks Beach (Pukaki), Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Journal of Island & Coastal Archaeology, 13(1), 1-20. doi: 10.1080/15564894.2017.1285833

Barber, I. (2017). New radiocarbon ages clarify chronology of Waimea Plains Māori settlement and dry agronomy, northern Te Waipounamu. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 8(2), 103-107.

Barber, I. G. (2017). [Review of the book Unearthing the Polynesian past: Explorations and adventures of an island archaeologist]. American Anthropologist, 119(4), 770-771. doi: 10.1111/aman.12946

Maxwell, J. J., Hoffman, A., & Barber, I. G. (2017). Early landscape clearance, horticultural and eventual abandonment, 500 years of site use at Cooks Beach (Pukaki): Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Proceedings of the New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA) Annual Conference. (pp. 15). Retrieved from https://nzarchaeology.org/

Chapter in Book - Research

Barber, I. (2015). As a lion among the sheep: Indigenous Americans and the national apocalypse in early Mormon thought. In S. C. Bibb & A. Simon-López (Eds.), Framing the apocalypse: Visions of the end-of-times. (pp. 37-66). Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press.

Barber, I. (2012). Archaeology of New Zealand. In N. A. Silberman (Ed.), The Oxford companion to archaeology (vol. 2). (2nd ed.) (pp. 485-488). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Barber, I. (2008). Can postmodern regulatory archaeology respect diverse cultural values? An evaluation from bicultural New Zealand. In F. P. McManamon, A. Stout & J. A. Barnes (Eds.), Managing archaeological resources: Global context, national programs, local actions. (pp. 107-128). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Barber, I. G. (2007). Oceania. In R. Wuthnow (Ed.), Encyclopedia of politics and religion (Vol. II). (2nd ed.) (pp. 669-673). Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Barber, I. G. (2004). Crops on the border: The growth of archaeological knowledge of Polynesian cultivation in New Zealand. In L. Furey & S. Holdaway (Eds.), Change through time: 50 years of New Zealand archaeology. (pp. 169-192). Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand Archaeological Association Monograph 26.

Barber, I., & McLean, G. R. (2000). Heritage and the big picture: Reading a cultural landscape. In A. Trapeznik (Ed.), Common Ground: Heritage and Public Places in New Zealand. (pp. 91-105). Dunedin: University of Otago Press.

Barber, I. (2000). History at ground level: Reading an archaeological site. In A. Trapeznik (Ed.), Common Ground: Heritage and Public Places in New Zealand. (pp. 107-119). Dunedin: University of Otago Press.

Barber, I. G. (1999). Early contact ethnography and understanding: An evaluation of the Cook expeditionary accounts of the Grass Cove conflict. In A. Calder, J. Lamb & B. Orr (Eds.), Voyages and Beaches: Pacific Encounters, 1769-1840. (pp. 155-179). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

^ Top of page

Journal - Research Article

Maxwell, J. J., McCoy, M. D., Tromp, M., Hoffmann, A., & Barber, I. G. (2018). The difficult place of deserted coasts in archaeology: New archaeological research on Cooks Beach (Pukaki), Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Journal of Island & Coastal Archaeology, 13(1), 1-20. doi: 10.1080/15564894.2017.1285833

Barber, I. (2017). New radiocarbon ages clarify chronology of Waimea Plains Māori settlement and dry agronomy, northern Te Waipounamu. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 8(2), 103-107.

Maxwell, J. J., Howarth, J. D., Vandergoes, M. J., Jacobson, G. E., & Barber, I. G. (2016). The timing and importance of arboriculture and agroforestry in a temperate East Polynesia Society, the Moriori, Rekohu (Chatham Island). Quaternary Science Reviews, 149, 306-325. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.08.006

Barber, I. G., Maxwell, J. J., & Petchey, F. (2016). A radiocarbon investigation of Moriori forest use on Rēkohu (Chatham Island), southwestern Polynesia. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 10, 96-109. doi: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.08.040

Barber, I. G. (2015). Matakite, Mormon conversions, and Māori-Israelite identity work in colonial New Zealand. Journal of Mormon History, 41(3), 167-220.

Barber, I. G., Maxwell, J., & Hemi, R. (2014). Growing images: Generating 3D digital models to investigate archaeological Moriori carvings on live trees. World Archaeology, 46(1), 63-77. doi: 10.1080/00438243.2013.871947

Lawrence, M., McCoy, M. D., Barber, I., & Walter, R. (2014). Geochemical sourcing of obsidians from the Pūrākaunui site, South Island, New Zealand. Archaeology in Oceania, 49(3), 158-163. doi: 10.1002/arco.5032

Barber, I. (2013). Molluscan mulching at the margins: investigating the development of a South Island Māori variation on Polynesian hard mulch agronomy. Archaeology in Oceania, 48(1), 40-52. doi: 10.1002/arco.5005

Barber, I. G. (2012). A fast yam to Polynesia: New thinking on the problem of the American sweet potato in Oceania. Rapa Nui Journal, 26(1), 31-42.

Barber, I., & Maxwell, J. (2012). Evaluating new radiocarbon dates from midden deposits near Moriori tree carvings, Rēhoku (Chatham Island). Journal of the Polynesian Society, 121(1), 33-50.

Barber, I. (2012). Gardens of Rongo: Applying cross-field anthropology to explain contact violence in New Zealand. Current Anthropology, 53(6), 799-808. doi: 10.1086/667834

Barber, I. G. (2012). Archaeological art debates and Polynesian images in place. World Archaeology, 44(3), 436-451. doi: 10.1080/00438243.2012.728036

Barber, I., & Maxwell, J. (2011). A collaborative archaeological research and conservation project for Moriori carved trees (rakau momori), Rekohu (Chatham Island). Archaeology in New Zealand, 54(1), 62-75.

Barber, I. (2010). Diffusion or innovation? Explaining lithic agronomy on the southern Polynesian margins. World Archaeology, 42(1), 74-89. doi: 10.1080/00438240903429755

Barber, I. (2009). Dream mines and religious identity in twentieth-century Utah: Insights from the Norman C. Pierce Collection. Princeton University Library Chronicle, LXX(3), 433-470.

Horrocks, M., Nichol, S. L., Augustinus, P. C., & Barber, I. G. (2007). Late Quaternary environments, vegetation and agriculture in northern New Zealand. Journal of Quaternary Science, 22(3), 267-279. doi: 10.1002/jqs.1027

Barber, I. (2006). Is the truth down there? Cultural heritage conflict and the politics of archaeological authority. Public History Review, 13, 143-154.

Horrocks, M., & Barber, I. (2005). Microfossils of introduced starch cultigens from an early wetland ditch in New Zealand. Archaeology in Oceania, 40(3), 106-114.

Horrocks, M., Shane, P. A., Barber, I. G., D'Costa, D. M., & Nichol, S. L. (2004). Microbotanical remains reveal Polynesian agriculture and mixed cropping in early New Zealand. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 131(3-4), 147-157.

Barber, I. G. (2003). Sea, land and fish: Spatial relationships and the archaeology of South Island Maori fishing. World Archaeology, 35(3), 434-448.

Barber, I. G. (2001). Journeys through space and time: Old models and new approaches in regional archaeology. (Review essay on C. Phillips, Waihou Journeys). New Zealand Science Review, 58(1), 35-36.

Barber, I. (1999). Archaeological research in eastern Golden Bay: An interim report. Archaeology in New Zealand, 42, 134-150.

Barber, I. (1999). Archaeological investigation and the Historic Places Act 1993: A brief guide. Archaeology in New Zealand, 41, 59-64q.

^ Top of page

Journal - Research Other

Barber, I. (2019). [Review of the book Tangatatau rockshelter: The evolution of an Eastern Polynesian socio‐ecosystem]. Archaeology in Oceania, 54(2), 127-128. doi: 10.1002/arco.5171

Barber, I. G. (2017). [Review of the book Unearthing the Polynesian past: Explorations and adventures of an island archaeologist]. American Anthropologist, 119(4), 770-771. doi: 10.1111/aman.12946

Barber, I. (2013). [Review of the book Irrigated taro (Colocasia esculenta) in the Indo-Pacific: Biological, social and historical perspectives]. Archaeology in Oceania, 48(1), 60-61. doi: 10.1002/arco.5011

Barber, I. (2009). [Review of the book Kon-Tiki revisited]. Journal of Pacific History, 44(3), 362-363. doi: 10.1080/00223340903356906

Barber, I. (2008). [Comment on the article Variable development of dryland agriculture in Hawai'i: A fine‐grained chronology from the Kohala field system, Hawai'i Island]. Current Anthropology, 49(5), 787-788. doi: 10.1086/591424

Barber, I. (2007). [Review of the book The archaeology of Pouerua]. Asian Perspectives, 46(1), 233-234. doi: 10.1353/asi.2007.0000

^ Top of page

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Barber, I. (2004). [Review of the book The quest for origins: Who first discovered and settled New Zealand and the Pacific Islands?]. Sites, 1(2), 161-165. [Book Review].

Barber, I. G. (2003). The New Zealand Archaeological Association list of consulting member archaeologists: Current status and a new proposal. Archaeology in New Zealand, 46(4), 217-222.

Barber, I. G., & Walter, R. (2002). Archaeological assessment of an eroding site complex (no.I44/21) at Purakanui Inlet, Otago. Archaeology in New Zealand, 45(2), 153-170.

Barber, I. G. (2000). Archaeological heritage management reform in New Zealand: What happened? Archaeology in New Zealand, 43, 22-36.

^ Top of page

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Maxwell, J. J., Hoffman, A., & Barber, I. G. (2017). Early landscape clearance, horticultural and eventual abandonment, 500 years of site use at Cooks Beach (Pukaki): Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Proceedings of the New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA) Annual Conference. (pp. 15). Retrieved from https://nzarchaeology.org/

Barber, I. (2016). Investigating proposed climate change proxies in New Zealand archaeology. Proceedings of the New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA) Conference. Retrieved from http://nzarchaeology.org/cms/index.php/conferences

Maxwell, J., Barber, I., Vandergoes, M., & Howarth, J. (2013). Rekohu research project and pre-historic East-Polynesian adaptation to climate. In C. M. Reid & A. Wandres (Eds.), Geoscience Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication. 136A, (pp. 65). Takaka, New Zealand: GSNZ. [Abstract]

Barber, I. (2011). An archaeological investigation of Moriori kopi forest management and settlement, Rekohu (Chatham Island): Preliminary results. Archaeology in New Zealand, 54(3), (pp. 151). [Abstract]

Barber, I. (2010). Moriori dendroglyphs and sacred space: An archaeological evaluation from northwestern Rekohu (Chatham Island). Archaeology in New Zealand, 53(3), (pp. 144-145). [Abstract]

Barber, I. (2009). Lost in space? Reconstructing the sacred site on anthropological grounds. Proceedings of the Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa/New Zealand (ASAANZ) Conference. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/asaanz/

Barber, I. G. (2001). Wet or dry? An evaluation of extensive archaeological ditch systems from far northern New Zealand. In C. M. Stevenson, G. Lee & F. J. Morin (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific. (pp. 41-50). Los Osos, California, USA: Bearsville Press. [Abstract]

^ Top of page

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Barber, I. (2009, December). Lost in space? Reconstructing the sacred site on anthropological grounds. Invited presentation at the Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa/New Zealand (ASAANZ) Conference, Picton, New Zealand.

Barber, I. (2005). Nelson archaeology and Maori culture change. Verbal presentation at the Archaeology in New Zealand: Public address

More publications...