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SPAR is committed to offering opportunities for talented emerging researchers and values the skills and specialisations they bring to the scope of expertise. This also enables us to grow and sustain mutually beneficial networks with other countries and institutions. We acknowledge the special contributions our Research Associates make.

Dylan Gaffney

Dylan Gaffney thumb"I am a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge specialising in the archaeology of the Indo-Pacific region, including New Guinea and New Zealand. The New Guinea research involves two major themes.

"The first theme examines the nature of colonisation, material culture production, and exchange by early Austronesian-speaking communities around Karkar Island and Madang on the northeast coast of Papua New Guinea. The second theme involves Pleistocene-Holocene settlement, agriculture, and trade around the New Guinea Highlands."

Dylan's New Zealand research related to early stone tool industries around southern Aotearoa, along with the first Chinese settlement of New Zealand in the late 19th century. As Research Co-ordinator he conducted archaeological excavations and surveys; material culture analyses; geochemical analyses; and applied archaeological method and theory to various archaeological reports and publications.


  • Material culture analysis (especially ceramics and lithics)
  • Geochemical / sourcing studies (XRF, SEM)

Sandy Gong

Sandy Gong thumb"I hold a PhD from the University of Science and Technology of China, specialising in cultural relics conservation. I am trained in the on-site archaeological excavation and analysis of historical artefacts, especially paper artefacts and textiles."

Sandy's work involved with two major research projects at SPAR:

1. The production and exchange of Chinese opium pipe bowls in 19th century New Zealand
2. Greywacke spall tools in pre-contact Aotearoa / New Zealand: clues to potential uses and reuses through residue and usewear analyses


  • Paper and textile analysis
  • Archaeological conservation
  • Material science (XRD, XRF, FT-IR, Ramen)

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