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Thai excavation site

Our archaeologists undertake research in both prehistoric and historical archaeology, focussed mainly within New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, and South East Asia. These investigations explore local issues as well as addressing questions of global significance including:

  • the origins and meaning of domestication
  • the emergence of social hierarchies
  • the development of technology
  • the interplay of human resource use, environmental change and cultural diversity

Staff profile pages give details of individual research expertise

Research facilities and resources

Research facilities include the Otago Archaeological Laboratories, which support specialised analysis of artefacts, fauna, lithics, sediments, and DNA. Established partnerships with the leading archaeological heritage management agencies throughout the region facilitate the continued development of new research projects.

Otago Archaeological laboratories

Southern Pacific Archaeological Research

Southern Pacific Archaeological Research (SPAR) is a research and consulting unit within the Anthropology Department. SPAR staff undertake projects in the fields of archaeology and cultural heritage management in New Zealand and the South Pacific. SPAR staff also have an active research programme in New Zealand and Pacific archaeology.


Postgraduate Student research

We have a long history of supporting student research, and consider this research to be amongst our most valuable outputs.

Current postgraduate student research

Completed theses and dissertations

The following links contain archives of completed theses and dissertations written by students enrolled in Anthropology. Each item is available to read in our programme library, and the MA and PhD theses can be interloaned from the University Library.

PhD Theses (PDF)

MA Theses (PDF)

BA (Hons) and PGDipArts Dissertations (PDF)


We publish a monograph series in Archaeology, a working papers series and coordinate the publication of the academic journal: Journal of Pacific Archaeology. We also put out an ongoing series of Otago Archaeological Laboratory Reports.

University of Otago Studies in Archaeology monographs page

University of Otago Working Papers in Anthropology series page

Otago Archaeological Laboratory Reports series page

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