Matthew Spriggs

Matthew Spriggs is Professor of Archaeology in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at The Australian National University. His research is regionally based in Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific, covering topics such as subsistence practices, the history of colonization of the region, cultural change, and the historical archaeology of Christian missions. He also has interests in archaeological theory and the history of archaeology in the Asia-Pacific region, and in Cornish language history. He has published extensively in all these fields.

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

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.