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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.

The settlement of the Pacific represents the greatest maritime migration in human history, covering a third of the surface of the globe. Human activity in the region also covers an extraordinarily long period of over 45,000 years. The aim of this course is to acquaint students with the archaeological history of the Pacific, from the first arrival of people in Australia and Papua New Guinea to the colonisation of New Zealand. During the course we will outline the sequence of human settlement and examine some of the major issues in contemporary Pacific 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 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,080.30
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,858.95

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One of ARCH 101, ANTH 103, ANTH 104, ANTH 106, or 54 points
ARCH 204
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Suitable for undergraduates interested in the human and environmental history of the Pacific region.

Teaching staff

Coordinator: Professor Glenn Summerhayes

Contributing lecturers: Dr Karen Greig;and Dr Catherine Smith

Teaching Arrangements
Lectures and tutorials
Patrick V. Kirch. 2000. On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands Before European Contact. Berkeley: University of California Press.
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
  • 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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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 12:00-12:50 9-12, 18-22
Friday 12:00-12:50 9-12, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A2 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 10, 12, 19, 21
A3 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 10, 12, 19, 21