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Dr Tim Thomas

ContactTim Thomas_large

Room 2C18
Tel 64 3 479 5213
Email tim.thomas@otago.ac.nz

Research Interests

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

Courses

ARCH201 Archaeological Methods
ARCH204 Pacific Archaeology
ARCH401 Archaeological Excavation
ARCH402 Material Culture Studies
ARCH404 Archaeological Theory

Projects

I work on the archaeology of the Pacific Islands, driven by wider questions about human social and cultural experience. Broadly my research focuses on how, why, and when human populations colonised the Pacific. I explore colonisation as an ongoing social process of human attachment to landscape that can be studied at different scales - from long-term patterns of migration, to the localised politics and meaning of place. My work is often interdisciplinary and uses multiple sources of data, including archaeological evidence, oral history, and archival records.

For the past 15 years I have worked on field projects based in the New Georgia region of the Solomon Islands. In particular I have worked on the material culture and cultural landscapes of Roviana, Rendova and Tetepare, gathering data to reconstruct the cultural history of these islands and their place in wider Solomon Islands prehistory. On Tetepare I have been working with an indigenous conservation association (Tetepare Descendants' Association) to conduct archaeological and palaeoenvironmental surveys. During my archaeological research in the Solomon Islands I have worked on linking the material remains of the past with early ethnographic and photographic records as well as oral histories. A recent project has involved the study and repatriation of early ethnographic photographs of people and places on the island of Simbo.

I teach the Department's archaeological field school every summer, and this has led me to develop research projects in central Otago looking at how both early Maori and early Europeans explored and colonised the rugged interior of the island. During these excavations I like to explore new digital forms of data collection, documentation and dissemination - including for example the use of a drone to map and 3D model landscapes.

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Publications

Thomas, T. (Ed.). (2021). Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in theory: Archaeological perspectives. London, UK: Routledge, 336p. doi: 10.4324/9780203730973

Thomas, T. (2021). Pacific colonisation as process and practice. In T. Thomas (Ed.), Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in theory: Archaeological perspectives. (pp. 145-179). London, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203730973

Thomas, T. (2021). Theory in the Pacific, and the Pacific in theory. In T. Thomas (Ed.), Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in theory: Archaeological perspectives. (pp. 1-36). London, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203730973

Thomas, T. (2020). Sensory archaeology in the Pacific. In R. Skeates & J. Day (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Sensory Archaeology. (pp. 539-555). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315560175-31

Thomas, T., McStay, A., Sheppard, P., & Summerhayes, G. (2020). Interaction and isolation in New Georgia: Insights from the Nabo Point ceramic assemblage, Tetepare. Archaeology in Oceania. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/arco.5221

Other Research Output

Thomas, T. (October, 2015). Being and time, houses and shrines, in the Solomon Islands. Peter Wilson Seminar, University of Auckland, New Zealand. [Research Seminar].

Thomas, T. (2005) Pioneers of Island Melanesia archaelogical survey, Lokuru, Rendova. Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge. [Unpublished Field Report].

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Edited Book - Research

Thomas, T. (Ed.). (2021). Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in theory: Archaeological perspectives. London, UK: Routledge, 336p. doi: 10.4324/9780203730973

Martinsson-Wallin, H., & Thomas, T. (Eds.). (2014). Monuments and people in the Pacific. Uppsala, Sweden: Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, 374p.

Sheppard, P. J., Thomas, T., & Summerhayes, G. R. (Eds.). (2009). Lapita: Ancestors and descendants (New Zealand Archaeological Association Monograph 28). Auckland, New Zealand: NZAA, 229p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Thomas, T. (2021). Pacific colonisation as process and practice. In T. Thomas (Ed.), Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in theory: Archaeological perspectives. (pp. 145-179). London, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203730973

Thomas, T. (2021). Theory in the Pacific, and the Pacific in theory. In T. Thomas (Ed.), Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in theory: Archaeological perspectives. (pp. 1-36). London, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203730973

Thomas, T. (2020). Sensory archaeology in the Pacific. In R. Skeates & J. Day (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Sensory Archaeology. (pp. 539-555). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315560175-31

Thomas, T. (2019). Axes of entanglement in the New Georgia group, Solomon Islands. In M. Leclerc & J. Flexner (Eds.), Archaeologies of Island Melanesia: Current approaches to landscapes, exchange and practice. (pp. 103-116). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press. doi: 10.22459/TA51.2019.07

Thomas, T. (2014). Shrines in the landscape of New Georgia. In H. Martinsson-Wallin & T. Thomas (Eds.), Monuments and people in the Pacific. (pp. 47-76). Uppsala, Sweden: Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University.

Thomas, T. (2014). Les formes topogéniques en Nouvelle-Géorgie. In M. Mélandri & S. Revolon (Eds.), L'Éclat des ombres: L'art en noir et blanc des îles Salomon. (pp. 180-188). Paris: Somogy Editions.

Thomas, T. (2014). Objects and photographs from the Percy Sladen Trust Expedition. In E. Hviding & C. Berg (Eds.), The ethnographic experiment: A. M. Hocart and W. H. R. Rivers in Island Melanesia, 1908. (pp. 252-281). New York: Berghahn Books.

Thomas, T. (2013). Sensory efficacy in the art of New Georgia. In L. Bolton, N. Thomas, E. Bonshek, J. Adams & B. Burt (Eds.), Melanesia: Art and encounter. (pp. 199-208). London, UK: British Museum Press.

Thomas, T. (2012). New Zealand. In N. A. Silberman (Ed.), Oxford companion to archaeology. (2nd ed.) Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acref/9780199735785.001.0001

Thomas, T. (2009). Canoe prow figurehead: New Georgia Island, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea. In Y. Le Fur (Ed.), Musée du Quai Branly: The collection: Art from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. (pp. 256-257). Paris: Flammarion.

Thomas, T. (2009). Communities of practice in the archeaological record of New Georgia, Rendova and Tetepare. In P. J. Sheppard, T. Thomas & G. R. Summerhayes (Eds.), Lapita: Ancestors and descendants (New Zealand Archaeological Association Monograph 28). (pp. 119-145). Auckland, New Zealand: NZAA.

Thomas, T. (2008). The long pause and the last pulse: Mapping East Polynesian colonisation. In S. O'Connor, G. Clark & F. Leach (Eds.), Islands of inquiry: Colonisation, seafaring and the archaeology of maritime landscapes. (pp. 97-112). Canberra, Australia: ANU E Press.

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Journal - Research Article

Thomas, T., McStay, A., Sheppard, P., & Summerhayes, G. (2020). Interaction and isolation in New Georgia: Insights from the Nabo Point ceramic assemblage, Tetepare. Archaeology in Oceania. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/arco.5221

Brown, A. A., & Thomas, T. (2015). The first New Zealanders? An alternative interpretation of stable isotope data from Wairau Bar, New Zealand. PLoS ONE, 10(10), e0135214. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135214

Ricaut, F.-X. X., Thomas, T., Mormina, M., Cox, M. P., Bellatti, M., Foley, R. A., & Mirazon-Lahr, M. (2010). Ancient Solomon Islands mtDNA: Assessing Holocene settlement and the impact of European contact. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37, 1161-1170. doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2009.12.014

Thomas, T. (2009). Topogenic forms in New Georgia, Solomon Islands. Sites, 6(2), 92-118.

Ricaut, F. X., Thomas, T., Arganini, C., Staughton, J., Leavesley, M., Bellatti, M., … Mirazon Lahr, M. (2008). Mitochondrial DNA variation in Karkar Islanders. Annals of Human Genetics, 72, 349-367. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1809.2008.00430.x

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

Thomas, T. (2001). The social practice of colonisation: Re-thinking prehistoric Polynesian migration. People & Culture in Oceania, 17, 27-46.

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

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Journal - Research Other

Thomas, T. (2020). [Review of the book An archaeology of early Christianity in Vanuatu: Kastom and religious change on Tanna and Erromango, 1839-1920]. Archaeology in Oceania, 55, 57-58. doi: 10.1002/arco.5190

Thomas, T. (2020). [Review of the book The Oxford handbook of prehistoric Oceania]. Antiquaries Journal. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1017/S0003581520000396

Thomas, T. (2018). [Review of the book Archaeology of the Solomon Islands]. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 127(2), 262-264. [Book Review].

Thomas, T. (2015). Political economy in prehistory: A Marxist approach to Pacific sequences [Comment]. Current Anthropology, 56(4), 537-538. doi: 10.1086/682284

Thomas, T. (2012). [Review of the book Polynesians in America: Pre-Columbian contacts with the New World]. Journal of Pacific History, 47(2), 235-237. doi: 10.1080/00223344.2012.670089

Thomas, T. (2011). Lapita colonization across the Near/Remote Oceania boundary [Comment]. Current Anthropology, 52(6), 831. doi: 10.1086/662201

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Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Thomas, T. (2012). [Review of the book Evolutionary and interpretive archaeologies: A dialogue]. Archaeology in New Zealand, 55(2), 133-136. [Book Review].

Thomas, T. (2003). [Review of the book Edward W. Gifford and Richard Shutler Jr's Archaeological Expedition to New Caledonia in 1952]. Archaeology in New Zealand, 46(2), 113-115.

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Hurford, J., & Thomas, T. (2015). Houses, shrines and the social landscape of Tetepare, Solomon Isalnds. Proceedings of the 8th International Lapita Conference. (pp. 51). Retrieved from http://archanth.anu.edu.au/cbap/lapita8conference

Mitchell, P., & Thomas, T. (2014). Railways and landscape in 19th century Otago: A spatial analysis of the Nenthorn construction camp. Archaeology in New Zealand, 57(3), (pp. 142-143). [Abstract]

Thomas, T. (2001). Data and discipline in the field: Archaeology, history, and ethnography in Roviana Lagoon. Archaeology in New Zealand. 44(3), (pp. 180). [Abstract]

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Conference Contribution - Poster Presentation (not in published proceedings)

Leavesley, M., & Thomas, T. (2004, April). Investigating diversity in material culture and language. Poster session presented at the First Origin of Man, Language and Languages Conference, Leipzig, Germany.

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Thomas, T. (2018, December). Entanglement, abstraction and power in late-period western Solomon Islands. Verbal presentation at the European Society for Oceanists (ESfO) Conference: Dealing with Inequality: Pacific perspectives, Pacific Futures, London and Cambridge, UK.

Thomas, T. (2018, December). Photography, history and memory on Simbo, Solomon Islands. Verbal presentation at the Pacific History Association 23rd Biennial Conference, London and Cambridge, UK.

Thomas, T. (2016, August-September). Archaeologies of entanglement in the New Georgia group, Solomon Islands. Verbal presentation at the Eighth World Archaeological Congress, Kyoto, Japan.

Thomas, T. (2014, April). The archaeology of Tetepare Island. Verbal presentation at the Australian Association for Pacific Studies (AAPS) Conference: Oceanscapes: Cooperation Across the Pacific, Sydney, Australia.

Thomas, T. (2011, June-July). Tetepare Island and the post-Lapita archaeology of the Western Solomons. Verbal presentation at the Lapita Pacific Archaeology Conference: Pacific Archaeology: Documenting the Past 50,000 Years to the Present, Apia, Samoa.

Thomas, T. (2007, July). Communities of practice in the archaeology of Tetepare, Rendova and New Georgia. Verbal presentation at the Lapita Conference: Lapita Antecedents and Successors, Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Thomas, T. (2007, November). The materiality of the past. Verbal presentation at the New Zealand Centre for Material Cultural Studies Forum: Matter in Place: Aotearoa/South Pacific Forum for Social Matters, Wellington, New Zealand.

Thomas, T. (2006, October). Sense and sensibility in the art of Roviana. Verbal presentation at the Melanesia Project Conference: Art and History in the Solomon Islands: Collections, Owners and Narratives, London.

Thomas, T. (2004, May). Material culture and the abstraction of agency in Roviana, Solomon Islands [Invited paper]. Verbal presentation at the Material Anthropology and Museum Ethnography Lecture Series, Oxford, UK.

Thomas, T. (2003, November). The abstraction of agency in Roviana, Solomon Islands [Invited paper]. Verbal presentation at the Association of Social Anthropologists Aoteraroa/New Zealand Annual Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand.

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Awarded Doctoral Degree

Thomas, T. (2005). Things of Roviana: Material culture, personhood and agency in nineteenth century Solomon Islands (PhD). University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. 380p.

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