Professor Peter Joseph Sheppard

BA (Wat), MA, PhD (Tor)

Research | Current

  • Archaeology: Melanesia, Solomon Islands
  • Processes of social transformation
  • Geoarchaeology

My current research focuses on the archaeology of the Solomon Islands where I have worked for the last 25 years. I have worked extensively on establishing the foundation prehistory of the Western Solomons which has included research on all the major islands of the Western Province. This research has been funded by grants from the Marsden Fund and the National Geographic Society. Most recently I have turned my attention to research in the Eastern Solomons which has included work on Santa Ana and in 2012 on Santa Cruz in Temotu Province. On Santa Cruz I have revisited and excavated the early Lapita site of Nanggu which has been considered to be the oldest site of human occupation in Remote Oceania which is the area south and east of the main Solomon Islands.. This new work is revising our understanding of the process of settlement of Remote Oceania.  I have also recently collborated on two Marsden projects with geophysicists at the University of Auckland and Victoria on using dated archaeological samples to improve our understanding of changes in the geomagentic field in the Western Pacific during the Late Holocene.

Teaching | Current

ANTHRO 101 - World Archaeology

ANTHRO 309 - Quantitative Methods in Anthropology

Postgraduate supervision

I supervise PhD students in the archaeology of Island Melanesia and archaeological science.


Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London

Areas of expertise

Archaeology, Archaeological Science, Western Pacific, Solomon Islands

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Sheppard, P. J. (2019). The Oxford handbook of prehistoric Oceania. CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS. Pages: 2. 10.15184/aqy.2019.17
  • Bedford, S., Blust, R., Burley, D. V., Cox, M., Kirch, P. V., Matisoo-Smith, E., ... Sheppard, P. (2018). Ancient DNA and its contribution to understanding the human history of the Pacific Islands. Archaeology in Oceania, 53 (3), 205-219. 10.1002/arco.5165
  • WHITE, P. E. T. E. R., & SHEPPARD, P. E. T. E. R. (2018). Archaeology in Oceania is an international journal. Archaeology in Oceania, 53 (2), 77-77. 10.1002/arco.5153
  • Torrence, R., Kononenko, N., Sheppard, P., Allen, M. S., Bedford, S., Kirch, P., & Spriggs, M. (2018). Tattooing tools and the Lapita cultural complex. Archaeology in Oceania, 53 (1), 58-73. 10.1002/arco.5139
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Melinda Allen
  • Cochrane, E. E., & Hunt, T. L. (2018). The Oxford Handbook of Prehistoric Oceania. Oxford University Press. Pages: 528.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ethan Cochrane
  • Weisler, M. I., Bolhar, R., Ma, J., St Pierre, E., Sheppard, P., Walter, R. K., ... Kirch, P. V. (2016). Cook Island artifact geochemistry demonstrates spatial and temporal extent of pre-European interarchipelago voyaging in East Polynesia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113 (29), 8150-8155. 10.1073/pnas.1608130113
  • Sheppard, P. J. (2016). The Lithic Assemblage. In D. Lubell (Ed.) Holocene Prehistory in the Télidjène Basin, Eastern Algeria: Capsian Occupations at Kef Zoura D and Aïn Misteheyia (pp. 41-94). Oxford: Archaeopress. Related URL.
  • Kononenko, N., Torrence, R., & Sheppard, P. J. (2016). Detecting early tattooing in the Pacific region through experimental usewear and residue analyses of obsidian tools. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 8, 147-163. 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.05.041


Contact details

Primary office location

New Zealand

Web links