Asian Archaeology and Biological Anthropology

The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UHM) is a Research 1 (R1) institution, and one of the world’s premier public centers of Asia-Pacific research. One of the leading four-field departments of Asia and the Pacific, Anthropology has a long been involved in Asian archaeology. Our current faculty work in various parts of Southeast Asia, northern and southern China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and elsewhere. Faculty research spans the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and historic periods, and covers topics as diverse as hominid radiations and adaptation to Asian environments, agricultural origins, early village life, early complex society development, and state formation. Our breadth of temporal and geographic coverage in Asian anthropological archaeology is greater than at any other institution in the English speaking world.

UHM is home to six NRC-funded Asian studies research centers organized under the umbrella of the School of Asian and Pacific Studies. These centers offer instruction in Asian culture, society, language, and literature. The Asia Collection, housed in Hamilton Library, is one of the largest and most important bodies of Asian and Asian language scholarship in the U.S. and Pacific region. UHM also maintains strong ties with the East-West Center, a U.S. non-profit educational agency housed adjacent to the UHM campus.

Page Content

Programs of Study
Luce Asian Archaeology Program
Program Faculty
Faculty Research
Current Graduate Students
Asian Language Training
Additional UHM and Other Resources

Programs of Study

Students may pursue a BA, MA or PhD degree in Anthropology, or an MA degree in the Applied Archaeology of Asia and the Pacific. Degree students with a primary interest in Asia may concentrate their studies in East or Southeast Asian archaeology, bioarchaeology, or palaeoanthropology. Students may elect, and are encouraged, to take courses in allied fields such as Biology, Geography, Sociology, History, Art/Art History, Religion, and Asian Studies that are pertinent to their interests. They must demonstrate relevant foreign language competency prior to undertaking library, laboratory, or field research as part of their thesis or dissertation. Applied Archaeology program students may choose to enroll concurrently in the Graduate Certificate Program in Historic Preservation administered by the American Studies Department. Additional information on our degree programs, as well as instructions on how to apply, can be found here.

U.S. citizens pursuing graduate degrees are strongly encouraged to apply for U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language Area Scholarships (FLAS) and other fellowships to help offset the costs of their studies. Additional sources of funding for both U.S. and foreign students are available through one or more of the scholarship and/or fellowship programs administered by UHM Anthropology and the East-West Center. All graduate students are expected to secure extramural support for degree-related research activities; common sources of research funding are listed here.

Although our curriculum is always changing, the Department of Anthropology is committed to offering the following courses for Asian Archaeology students on a regular basis (* indicates a forthcoming course).


  • Asian Palaeoanthropology (ANTH 460)
  • East Asian Archaeology (ANTH 462)
  • Southeast Asian Archaeology (ANTH 461)
  • Archaeology of Ancient China (ANTH 385B)
  • Japanese Prehistory*
  • Directed Readings (ANTH 699) in a specific geocultural area


  • Archaeology (ANTH 603)
  • Biological Anthropology Core (ANTH 604)
  • History of Archaeological Thought (ANTH 469)
  • Human Origins (ANTH 310)
  • Evolutionary Archaeology (ANTH 412)
  • Economic Archaeology (ANTH 640E)
  • Historical Ecology and Landscape Archaeology (ANTH640C)
  • Regional Settlement Patterns: Survey and Analysis (ANTH 640)
  • Chiefdoms and Other Middle-Scale Societies (ANTH 750B)
  • Origins of Cities (ANTH 325)
  • Seminar in Research Design and Proposal Writing (ANTH 711)
  • Directed Readings (ANTH 699) in a specific theoretical approach


  • Archaeological Lab Techniques (ANTH 380)
  • Archaeological Field Techniques (ANTH 381)
  • Archaeological Field Methods (ANTH 668)
  • Ceramics Analysis in Archaeology (ANTH 472)
  • Lithic Artifact Assemblage Analysis (ANTH 473)
  • Faunal Analysis (ANTH 475)
  • Skeletal Biology (ANTH 384/384L)
  • New World Rituals and Ideologies (ANTH 478)
  • Spatial Analysis in Archaeology (ANTH 477)
  • Historic Preservation (ANTH 645)
  • Applied Archaeology Practicum (ANTH 670)
  • Directed Readings (ANTH 699) in a specific method

Luce Asian Archaeology Program

Archaeologists and heritage management professionals in Asia are invited to apply to the Department of Anthropology’s Luce Asian Archaeology Program (LAAP). Directed by Miriam T. Stark, the LAAP is a non-degree program that provides opportunities for professional skills development, English language acquisition, and field training for qualified citizens of East and Southeast Asia. Advanced scholars of Asian archaeology with active research profiles and international experience may apply to become LAAP Visiting Scholars.

Program Faculty

(* Denotes Graduate Faculty.)

Core Anthropology Faculty

*Christopher J. Bae, PhD (UHM) <>
Interests: Biological anthropology, paleoanthropology, vertebrate taphonomy, Out of Africa I, modern human origins; China, Korea, Japan.

*Christian E. Peterson, PhD (UHM) <>
Interests: Archaeology, comparative study, Neolithic period, early complex societies, regional settlement patterns, household archaeology, quantitative methods, GIS; China. Recent Collaborative Research: Regional-scale settlement pattern survey, supra-local community delineation, intensive surface collection of household artifact assemblages, and excavation in eastern Inner Mongolia and western Liaoning, PRC.  Collaborators: Institute of Archaeology, CASS, Beijing; Inner Mongolian Provincial Institute of Archaeology; Liaoning Provincial Institute of Archaeology; Jilin University; University of Pittsburgh; Hebrew University; Chifeng Museum; Kazuo Museum.

*Barry V. Rolett, PhD (UHM) <>
Interests: Austronesian origins, early seafaring, cultural response to environmental change; China, Pacific Islands.  Recent Collaborative Research: Investigation of the Neolithic cultures of coastal Fujian (China) and their significance for understanding Austronesian origins.  Current Institutional Collaborators: Fujian Museum; Xiamen University; Sun Yat-Sen (Zhongshan) University, University of Aberdeen.

*Miriam T. Stark , PhD (UHM) <>
Interests: Archaeology, ecology, economic archaeology, political economy, ceramics, survey-based regional analysis, state formation; Southeast Asia. Current Collaborative Research: Archaeological and regional geoarchaeological investigations of early state formation in the Mekong Delta of Cambodia. Director, Luce Asian Archaeology Project. Current Institutional Collaborators: Royal University of Fine Arts, Cambodia; University of Sydney.

Affiliate Anthropology Faculty

S. Jane Allen, PhD (Intl. Arch. Res. Inst.) <>
Soils and environmental archaeology, Contact-era archaeology; Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands.

Michele T. Douglas, PhD <>
Physical anthropology, skeletal biology, bioarchaeology, paleopathology; Oceania, Southeast Asia.

Jefferson M. Fox, PhD (East-West Center) <
Land use, forest resources and management, GIS and spatial information technology; South Asia, Southeast Asia.

John A. Peterson, PhD (Micronesian Area Research Center) <>
Archaeology, historical archaeology; Hawaii-Pacific, Philippines.

Relevant Faculty in Other Departments

Andaya, Barbara (Asian Studies; SE Asia)
Andaya, Leonard (History; SE Asia)
Aung-Thwin, Michael (Asian Studies; SE Asia)
Brown, Shana (History; China)
Farris, William Wayne (History; Japan)
Kelley, Liam (History; SE Asia)
Lavy, Paul (Art/Art History; SE Asia)
Lingley, Kate (Art/Art History; China)

Faculty Research

NE China

  • The Chifeng International Collaborative Archaeological Research Project (Peterson). (In collaboration with U. Pittsburgh, Hebrew University, Institute of Archaeology [CASS, Beijing], Jilin University, and the Inner Mongolia Institute of Archaeology.) Topics: Systematic settlement survey of 1,234 km2 that is helping to document and explain seven millennia of sociocultural change in NE China. Location: Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, PRC. Funding: NSF, CCK. Date: 1998–present.
  • The Hongshan Intra-Community Archaeological Research Project (Peterson). Topics: Community organization revealed through intensive surface collection, analysis, and comparison of 30 Hongshan period domestic artifact assemblages from Fushanzhuang. Location: Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, PRC. Funding: NSF. Date: 2004-present.
  • The Liaoning Honshan Period Community Project (Peterson). (In collaboration with U. Pittsburgh and the Liaoning Province Institute of Archaeology.) Topics: Documentation of the spatial and demographic scale of Hongshan period “core zone” communities, as well as the organization of activities and social statuses within them, through a combination of regional-scale settlement survey, intensive surface collection, remote sensing, and test excavation. Funding: Luce Foundation, NSF, and NGS. Location: Kazuo County, Liaoning Province, PRC. Date: 2008–present.

SE China

  • Investigating the Exchange Networks of the Hemudu Culture (Jiao). Topics: Studies of Hemudu period resource procurement patterns and exchange networks, through sourcing of lithic and ceramic artifacts. Location: Tianluoshan site, Zhejiang Province, PRC. Date: 2006–present.
  • A Study of Palaeodiet in Neolithic Southeast China (Jiao). Topic: Isotope analyses of human and non-human animal bones from major Neolithic sites in Fujian Province. Locations: Multiple. 2007–present.
  • Exploring the Early Bronze Age Cultures of Southeast China (Jiao). Topics: Excavation and analysis of Bronze Age archaeological remains. Location: Anshan site, Fujian Province. Date: 2008–present.
  • Settlement Survey of Prehistoric Cultures in Southeast China (Jiao). Topic: Settlement survey. Location: Zhejiang and Fujian provinces. Date: 2007–present.
  • Neolithic cultures of southeast China and the search for Austronesian origins (Rolett, in collaboration with the Fujian Provincial Museum and Bishop Museum).  Topics: Excavations on the Fujian coast, refining the chronologies of major sites, and the geological sourcing of stone adzes to reconstruct Neolithic interaction spheres.  Location: Fujian Province.  Date:  2001-present.
  • Neolithic cultural response to environmental change on the Fujian coast (Rolett, in collaboration with Sun Yat-Sen (Zhongshan) University and Xiamen University).  Topics: High-resolution palaeoenvironmental study of the Fuzhou Basin (9000 BP to present); environmental change linked to human systems during the Neolithic era of SE China.  Location: Fujian Province.  Date:  2007-present.


  • Bioarchaeology of Neolithic Skeletons from Tainan County, Southern Taiwan (Pietrusewsky). Topics: Bioarchaeology: indicators of oral/dental (dental caries, antemortem tooth loss—AMTL, alveolar defects, dental calculus, and dental attrition) and physiological (linear enamel hypoplasia-LEH) health and lifestyle in early Neolithic Taiwan. Location: Science-Based Industrial Park, Tainan County, southern Taiwan. Date: 2008–present.


  • Human Skeletons from Ban Chiang, Northeast Thailand (Pietrusewsky). Topics: Bioarchaeological research on human skeletal remains from the 1974 and 1975 University of Pennsylvania and Thai Fine Arts Department excavations at Ban Chiang. Collection of evidence on prehistoric health, diet, life span, social status, biological relationships and origins. The skeletal data base for Ban Chiang can be found here: Location: University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Date: 1974–present.


  • Lower Mekong Archaeological Project (Stark). (In collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Kingdom of Cambodia.) Topics: Southeast Asian state formation during the early historic period as documented through survey, excavations, and geoarchaeological work at Angkor Borei and surrounding settlements. Funding: NASA Space Archaeology program. Location: Mekong Delta, S. Cambodia. Date: 1996–present.
  • Greater Angkor Project (Stark). (In collaboration with U. Sydney.) Funding: Australian Research Council. Location: NW Cambodia. Date: 2009–present.

Current Graduate Students

  • Bartel, Kate (Asian archaeology) Neolithic period, China <>
  • Benitez, Robert (Paleoanthropology, East and Southeast Asia) Asian paleoanthropology, Philippines <>
  • Calugay, Cyril (Archaeology, Philippines);ecology, landscape archaeology, island economics, networks; <>
  • Fehrenbach, Shawn (Archaeology, Cambodia); ceramics; compositional analysis;  regional survey; social and economic interaction spheres; <>
  • France, Phoebe (Archaeology, Southeast Asia) landscape archaeology, Angkorian period, paleoethnobotany <>
  • Manirath, Lisa (Archaeology, Southeast Asia) historical archaeology, zooarchaeology <>
  • Heng, Piphal (Archaeology, Cambodia) early state formation; political economy; settlement pattern; <>
  • Quang, Tuyen (Archaeology, Southeast Asia) heritagement management, central Vietnam, Cham culture <>
  • Hoerman, Rachel (Archaeology, Cambodia); Paleolithic, rock art, early modern humans; community archaeology <>
  • Ingalls, Teresa (Archaeology, Mainland Southeast Asia); zooarchaeology; <>
  • Lauer, Adam (Biological Anthropology, East/Southeast Asia); Neolithic, gene flow, bioarchaeology, paleopathology, mortuary archaeology; <>
  • Lee, Hui-Lin (Archaeology, Taiwan); historical archaeology (17th–early 20th century); studies of cultural contact and colonialism; <>
  • Yen, Ling-Da (Physical Anthropology)

Asian Language Training

Foreign language competency is an important degree requirement for all regular track MA and PhD students in Anthropology. The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa offers a wide array of Asian language instruction through the following departments and programs.

Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL)

Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures (IPLL)

Additional UHM and Other Resources