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Islands, Encounters, and Adaptations in the Pacific

  • Nicholson Museum Manning Road The University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW Australia (map)

Presented by Dr James Flexner

What draws people to islands, and what do they do when they get there? Why the fascination with little bits of land surrounded by the sea? Using his ongoing research in the small, remote islands of southern Vanuatu, James will explore some of the reasons behind island colonisation and discussing the ways that long-term archaeological records provide important information about the clever ways that people adapted to these dynamic and often difficult environments. Islands, of course, were not isolated from human contacts after their initial settlement. 

Integrated into the stories about human resilience and culture change are encounters with people from different islands, sometimes quite far away and with radically different languages and cultures. What value does island archaeology have for our contemporary world as it explores microcosms of human experience?

About the speaker: James L. Flexner is a lecturer in historical archaeology and heritage at the University of Sydney. His main research interests are in landscape archaeology and historical archaeology, with a geographic focus on Oceania. Recently, he is also exploring the use of early ethnographic collections in archaeological analysis. A significant component of his research is close collaboration with local communities, as well as broader public outreach efforts to make archaeology accessible to many audiences.

Time and date: 2-3pm Saturday 4 May 2019

Location: Nicholson Museum, Manning Road, University of Sydney

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