A Public Talk on Pacific Archaeology by Professor Glenn Summerhayes at the Otago Museum
Glenn Summerhayes has been a professor of archaeology at the University of Otago since 2005. He has been involved in Pacific archaeology for over thirty years, with a specific research focus on Papua New Guinea. His PhD, Lapita Interaction, was a landmark work that re-assessed and re-evaluated the degree of interaction between communities of the enigmatic Lapita people of the western Pacific, widely regarded as the ancestors of the Polynesian people, around 3000 years ago. His work in the New Guinea Highlands pushed the date of early humanity there back to 50,000 years ago, rather than the previously widely accepted dates of 30,000 to 35,000 years ago. Professor Summerhayes has also worked to put the results of his research back into the local communities, with workshops for educators and those involved in cultural heritage management. In 2014, his immense contribution to Papua New Guinea archaeology was formally recognised when he was made an Officer of the Order of Logohu (Bird of Paradise), one of the country’s highest civilian honours.
Professor Summerhayes’ public talk at the Otago Museum on Tuesday the 4th of April, as part of National Archaeology Week, will provide an overview of his research in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. After the talk, Professor Summerhayes will also lead a short walking tour of a part of the Otago Museum’s world-class Melanesian exhibition.