Professor Peter Sheppard

“My current research focuses on the archaeology of the Solomon Islands where I have worked for the last 15 years concentrating on the islands of New Georgia and Vella Lavella. My current Marsden projects deal with the archaeology of Vella Lavella and with the development of a record of Late Holocene palaeomagnetic field strength with colleagues in the Geology Department. In December 2008 I began a multi-year project on the island of Santa Ana in the Eastern Solomons.

“For the past 10 years my research has focused on the archaeology and culture history of the Western Solomon Islands. This research investigates the origins of the remarkable cultural diversity which characterises this poorly known area. By using a methodology which incorporates the collaborative work of anthropologists, archaeologists and environmental historians my colleagues and I are slowly building up an anthropological history of this region over the last 10,000 years. In 1996 we began a 4-year research project in Roviana Lagoon on the south coast of the Island of New Georgia which documented in some detail the history of the development of the Roviana chiefdom from the Lapita age occupation of the lagoon some 2,700 years ago. More recently, in 2004 we started another 4-year project on the island of Vella Lavella which is located some 70 km west of Roviana. Our object here is to develop a comparative dataset which we can use to examine the history of interaction among Non-Austornesian (Vella Lavella) and Austronesian (Roviana) speaking populations in the region over the last 3,000 years.

“I have a strong interest in archaeological science which focuses primarily on the characterization and sourcing of lithic materials from archaeological sites. This has involved the study of cherts from Lapita sites; rocks used in the manufacture of adzes in Melanesia and Polynesia; obsidian in Lapita age sites and most recently a collaborative effort with colleagues in New Zealand on the development of a chert sourcing database and protocol for northern New Zealand.”

Professor Peter Sheppard


Professor Peter Sheppard

Anthropology
School of Social Sciences
Phone: + 64 9 373 7599 ext 88572
Email: p.sheppard@auckland.ac.nz

Find out more about studying Anthropology

Find out more about Professor Peter Sheppard