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ANTH204 Pacific and New Zealand Archaeology

An archaeological perspective on cultural change in the Pacific Islands, including New Zealand, from earliest human settlement until the early colonial era.

In this course we cover the entire archaeological history of the Pacific, from the first arrival of people in the region 50,000 years ago to the colonial era of the nineteenth century. We follow the migratory journeys of Pacific peoples, who colonised islands from southeast Asia, through the tropical Pacific, southward to Aotearoa. These journeys represent the greatest maritime migration in human history, covering a third of the surface of the globe. During the course we will outline the sequence of human settlement and the subsequent development of regional cultures, examining some of the major issues in contemporary Pacific archaeological research.

Topics covered include the voyaging and exploration strategies leading to island discovery and settlement; the development of Pacific economies and social systems; and how these were transformed during the colonisation of ever more remote islands. We will also examine the effects of human colonisation on Pacific environments, including landscape modifications, introductions of new plants and animals, and extinctions.

Paper title Pacific and New Zealand Archaeology
Paper code ANTH204
Subject Anthropology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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One of ANTH 103, ANTH 104, ANTH 106, ARCH 101 or 54 points
ARCH 204
Schedule C
Arts and Music

Suitable for undergraduates interested in the human and environmental history of New Zealand and the Pacific region.


Teaching staff

Co-ordinator: Dr Charles Radclyffe

Contributing Lecturer: Dr Karen Greig

Teaching Arrangements
Lectures and tutorials

Patrick V. Kirch. 2017. On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands Before European Contact. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2nd edition.

Course outline

Will be available on Blackboard at the beginning of the course.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Cultural understanding, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will

  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the timing and pattern of human settlement in the Pacific region
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the cultural sequences of the major Pacific regions, and the adaptations made to the variety of environmental conditions encountered

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 12:00-12:50 9-14, 16-22
Friday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 16-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Tuesday 16:00-16:50 10, 12, 14, 18-19, 21
A2 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21
A3 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 10, 12, 14, 18-19, 21