Emeritus Professor Matthew Spriggs

MA (Cantab), PhD (ANU), FSA, FAHA, FRAI, Order of Vanuatu, GSM (Vanuatu)
Emeritus Professor of Archaeology
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 02 61258229

Areas of expertise

  • Archaeology Of New Guinea And Pacific Islands (Excl. New Zealand) 210106
  • Pacific History (Excl. New Zealand And Maori) 210313
  • British History 210305
  • Language In Time And Space (Incl. Historical Linguistics, Dialectology) 200406
  • Archaeological Science 210102

Research interests

Ancient DNA, Linguistics and archaeology

Pacific and Island Southeast Asian Archaeology

History of Archaeology in Australia and the Pacific

Cornish Language History



I retired from the ANU at the end of March 2021, after nearly 34 years (nearly 24 years of that as Professor of Archaeology), but still remain active in research. My research interests are areally the archaeology of Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, and also Cornish Studies. My thematic areas of interest are history of archaeology, archaeological theory, archaeology and lingusitics, human-environment interactions, politics and archaeology, ancient DNA analysis and archaeology, and Cornish language history.  Most recently I have undertaken a five year project (2015-2020) funded by the ARC Laureate scheme on the history of Pacific archaeology, currently have an ARC Strategic Initiative Grant with Prof. Lynette Russell of Monash University on Indigenous Australian involvement in the development of archaeology from the 1830s onwards. I have carried out archaeological research in Indonesia, East Timor, New Guinea, the Bismack Archipelago, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Hawaii.  I was appointed Professor of Archaeology in 1997 in what is now the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences at the ANU. Previously I was a Senior Research Fellow in Archaeology and Natural History, in what is now the College of Asia Pacific. Before joining the ANU in 1987, I was an Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department of University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu. I took up a position there after finishing my PhD at the ANU in 1981.


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