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‘Adventures in New Guinea’ lecture to feature in NZ

A UNIVERSITY professor with close links to Papua New Guinea will address an inaugural lecture in New Zealand next week about his field work in archeology here spanning more than 30 years.

The Friends of the Otago Museum have sponsored the inaugural H D Skinner memorial lecture next Thursday, October 11, as part of the museum’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

The lecture, “Adventures in New Guinea” by Professor Glenn Summerhayes, will explore the island of New Guinea’s role in the area’s two great migrations: the first footsteps of modern humans some 50,000 years ago, and the much later colonisation of the western Pacific by the Austronesian-speaking peoples we call Lapita.

Attention will also be paid to the social dimensions of Lapita pottery – which includes highly decorated wares – exploring their production, distribution and use, and, following in H D Skinner’s footsteps, how a similar approach can be used on Otago Museum’s Pacific collections.

Prof Summerhayes at the University of Otago is a leading expert in Pacific archaeology, with particular focus on the prehistory of PNG. He has more than 35 years’ research experience working in PNG, focusing on all aspects of its archaeology from first colonisation, Holocene adaptation, the Lapita phenomenon and the development of societies seen at contact.

A frequent visitor to PNG, he is affiliated with both the University of Papua New Guinea and the National Museum and Art Gallery. In 2014, he was awarded a New Year Honour by the Queen, becoming an Officer of the Order of Logohu (OL) for his contribution to archaeology in PNG.

H D Skinner was the director of Otago Museum from 1937 to 1953, and was influential in building the substantial collections that the museum still benefits from today.

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