Associate Professor Hallie Buckley

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Office:  328 Lindo Ferguson Building


Brief Description of Research

Patterns of prehistoric health and disease in the Pacific Islands as evidence of adaptation to the island environment using human skeletal remains from archaeological sites. This research has focused on Lapita-associated skeletal samples from Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea but also includes analysis of previously excavated remains from more recent sites.  Recently, Associate Professor Buckley also co-ordinated the re-evaluation of human skeletal remains from the Wairau Bar, an important archaeological site in New Zealand, before their reburial in April 2009.


Research Interests

Associate Professor Buckley’s interests focus on the effect of different cultural and ecological environments on the health and disease of prehistoric peoples in the Pacific Islands.  Associate Professor Buckley uses multi-disciplinary methods such as stable isotope analyses and macroscopic observations to address questions of diet and health in the Pacific.


This research is conducted by the analysis of museum-curated Pacific Island human skeletal remains and recently excavated samples from Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. A new project is also underway focusing on cemeteries from Austronesian speaking populations in Indonesia.

The discovery of the Lapita-associated cemetery site of Teouma on Efate Island in Vanuatu in 2004 provided an exciting opportunity to investigate how people adapted to the island environment as the first colonizers of the region.  The research on this sample is ongoing. Associate Professor Buckley is also working on late Lapita human skeletal remains from sites on small islands off Northeastern Malakula in Vanuatu providing the opportunity to investigate changes in health over time in the Pacific.

This work is assisted by grants from the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund and University of Otago Research grants.


Click here for a list of recent publications