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Research Assistants 

SPAR Research Assistants bring a range of state-of-the-art technological skills, academic achievement, and experience from New Zealand, across the Pacific and into South America.

Jessie Hurford

Jessie Hurford OtagoI completed my BA(Hons), and MA in archaeology at the University of Otago, investigating the Moriori rākau momori (memorial tree carvings) of Rekohu (Chatham Island), and the ritual architecture of the Solomon Islands, in the Western Province. 

I consider archaeology an important field for engaging and working with indigenous communities and my research has predominantly focused on the settlements, material culture and ritual practices of pre-contact communities in the Pacific.

At SPAR, I assist with various field surveys, excavations and lab analyses. My work relates to the study of early Māori settlements (e.g. Kahukura in Southland); the study of early European settlement in Dunedin city; the development of GIS (geographic information system) archaeological databases; the production of archaeological assessments and reports; and the illustration of technical archaeological drawings.

Specialisations

  • Archaeological survey
  • GIS (geographic information systems)
  • Material culture analysis

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Tristan Russell

Tristal Russell otago

I completed my master's degree in archaeology at the University of Otago, focusing on the diets of early European missionaries at Hohi Mission Station in the Bay of Islands. I have had the privilege to work on a wide variety of sites, ranging from Moriori middens on the Chatham Islands and a Pre-Angkorian Iron Age burial site in Cambodia, to both pre-Classic and Classic period Maya sites in Guatemala, as well as historic and pre-contact sites throughout New Zealand.

At SPAR, I am responsible for conducting archaeological assessments, monitoring urban development projects, and assisting with excavation and field surveys.

Specialisations

  • Archaeological excavation
  • Archaeozoology
  • Archaeological photography
  • Material culture analysis

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Nick Sutton

Nick Sutton OtagoI have archaeological experience throughout New Zealand and in Papua New Guinea. I completed a Postgraduate Diploma and a MA degree in archaeology at Otago, for which I used changes in pottery production technology and the movement and use of stone resources as proxies for the mobility of people along the south coast of Papua New Guinea in the first millennium AD.

My work at SPAR ranges from the study of material from some of New Zealand's earliest archaeological sites, and the story of how the earliest arrivals from tropical Polynesia adapted to this land around 700 years ago, to the early days of settlement of the city of Dunedin in the 1800s.

Specialisations

  • Archaeological excavation
  • Material culture analysis
  • Geochemical analysis (including XRF and SEM-EDS)