Spring 2014 Featured Scholars

Faculty Spotlight: Professor Miriam Stark

I joined UHM Anthropology in August 1995, with a decade of archaeological field and analytical experience in Southeast Asia and North America. My work since then has concentrated on early state formation, landscape archaeology and heritage management in Cambodia through two long-term research projects.

  1. The Lower Mekong Archaeological Project (LOMAP), an international archaeological collaboration co-directed with His Excellency Chuch Phoeurn (Secretary of State, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Kingdom of Cambodia) was begun in 1996 until 2009. LOMAP’s interdisciplinary research focused on the early historic period in the Mekong delta (c. 500 BCE – 500 CE), where some of the region’s earliest documented states developed.

  2. Greater Angkor Project (GAP) Phase III, an international archaeological collaboration with the University of Sydney’s Archaeology program; Phase III began in 2010, and investigates urbanization and collapse in the Angkor region of northwestern Cambodia. Three field seasons under my direction thus far have concentrated on residential evidence from five Angkorian sites including Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. GAP III fieldwork continues in the summer of 2014.
I am also committed to capacity-building at home and abroad. I have served as PI for a $500,000 Luce Foundation grant that established an Asian Archaeology position in UHM Anthropology, and launched the Luce Asian Archaeology Program (LAAP) in collaboration with the UH HELP program and the East-West Center. Between 2009 and 2012, LAAP brought 12 junior archaeological professionals from Southeast Asia and Southeast China to UHM for a year of intensive English language training and archaeological coursework. I have also mentored three Vietnamese students (each with Ford Foundation Fellowships) in our Applied Archaeology MA program. My LOMAP program included funding each field season for Cambodian interns, and I have continued to work each year with the Archaeology Faculty at Cambodia’s Royal University of Fine Arts to provide field training for undergraduates.

Graduate Student Research Spotlight: Piphal Heng

Being born near the Angkor complex, it was natural to pursue a degree in archaeology to answer questions such as how, when, and why these temples were built and what was the relationship between them and the construction of the empire. My PhD research focuses on the relationship between the institutionalized religion and the pre-Angkorian state formation and how it materialized in the archaeological records. I use settlement pattern, ceramic, as well as historical data to elucidate the process of state formation at a pre-Angkorian regional center of Thala Borivat. This research contributes to better understand early state formation in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Additionally, I have conducted research with Dr. Miriam Stark through LOMAP in the Mekong Delta and the Greater Angkor Project in Angkor region since 2004. Our latest work, assisted by LiDAR data, focuses on excavating habitation areas selected from series of mounds planted within a grid system inside of the Angkor Wat enclosure.

Undergraduate Student Research Spotlight: Nathaniel Garcia, B.A. 2013

As a practicing archaeologist, my focus has been on bottle and ceramic identification to help build a representative collection and possible dates for site habitation during the historic period in Hawaii.  My work was recently featured in an article in the Star-Advertiser entitled “Message in a Bottle” (9/15/2013) based on the high concentration of ceramics and bottle glass found in the Kakaako area, helping identify possible ethnic backgrounds of inhabitants, uses, and chronologies.