Matthew Spriggs

Matthew Spriggs is Professor of Archaeology and Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow 2015–2020 on the project ‘The Collective Biography of Archaeology in the Pacific’ (CBAP) at The Australian National University. He has worked at the ANU since 1987. He is a specialist in the archaeology of Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific and has worked professionally in the field for nearly 45 years, having conducted archaeological excavations in Eastern Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Hawai’i.

orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7293-6778

Debating Lapita »

Distribution, Chronology, Society and Subsistence

‘This volume is the most comprehensive review of Lapita research to date, tackling many of the lingering questions regarding origin and dispersal. Multidisciplinary in nature with a focus on summarising new findings, but also identifying important gaps that can help direct future research.’ — Professor Scott Fitzpatrick, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon ‘This substantial volume offers a welcome update on the definition of the Lapita culture. It significantly refreshes the knowledge on this foundational archaeological culture of the Pacific Islands in providing new data on sites and assemblages, and new discussions of hypotheses previously proposed.’ — Dr Frédérique Valentin, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Paris This volume comprises 23 chapters that focus on the archaeology of Lapita, a cultural horizon associated with the founding populations who first colonised much of the south west Pacific some 3000 years ago. The Lapita culture has been most clearly defined by its distinctive dentate-stamped decorated pottery and the design system represented on it and on further incised pots. Modern research now encompasses a whole range of aspects associated with Lapita and this is reflected in this volume. The broad overlapping themes of the volume—Lapita distribution and chronology, society and subsistence—relate to research questions that have long been debated in relation to Lapita.

Degei's Descendants »

Spirits, Place and People in Pre-Cession Fiji

Edited by: Matthew Spriggs, Deryck Scarr
Dr Parke’s monograph examines how Fijians, especially in western areas of Fiji, currently understand and explain the origins and development of the social and political divisions of late pre-colonial traditional Fijian society. It assesses the reasoning, consistency and, where possible, the historical accuracy of such understandings. The oral history research which forms the backbone of the study was conducted in either standard Fijian or one or other of the western Fijian dialects with which Dr Parke was familiar. The period on which the monograph concentrates is the two centuries or so immediately prior to the Deed of Cession on 10 October 1874. A number of the major chiefs of Fiji had offered to cede Fiji to Queen Victoria; and after the offer had been accepted, Fiji became a British Crown Colony on that day. The volume will be of interest to all archaeologists, anthropologists and historians with an interest in Fiji. It will also be of wider interest to Pacific Studies scholars and those of British colonial history as well as historians with a wider interest in indigenous traditional histories and their role in governance today.

The Archaeology of the Aru Islands, Eastern Indonesia »

Edited by: Sue O'Connor, Matthew Spriggs, Peter Veth
This volume describes the results of the first archaeological survey and excavations carried out in the fascinating and remote Aru Islands, Eastern Indonesia between 1995 and 1997. The naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who stopped here in search of the Birds of Paradise on his voyage through the Indo-Malay Archipelago in the 1850s, was the first to draw attention to the group. The results reveal a complex and fascinating history covering the last 30,000 years from its early settlement by hunter-gatherers, the late Holocene arrival of ceramic producing agriculturalists, later associations with the Bird of Paradise trade and the colonial expansion of the Dutch trading empires. The excavations and finds from two large Pleistocene caves, Liang Lemdubu and Nabulei Lisa, are reported in detail documenting the changing environmental and cultural history of the islands from when they were connected to Greater Australia and used by hunter/gatherers to their formation as islands and use by agriculturalists. The results of the excavation of the late Neolithic — Metal Age midden at Wangil are discussed, as is the mysterious pre-Colonial fort at Ujir and the 350-year old ruins of forts and a church associated with the Dutch garrisons.