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Richard Walter

Principal Investigator



Auckland University of Technology

Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau

A Bit About Richard

Richard Walter is an anthropologist and archaeologist who has been working in the Pacific for four decades. One of his main interests is in the long history of interactions between coastal communities and marine ecosystems. In part, he has addressed this question through the lens of archaeology, looking at the record of fishing practices and the changing pattern of species targeting over very long time depths. Changes in the types of species that are found in archaeological sites through time provides a record of changing conditions of marine ecosystems, and corresponding changes in the ways people use those places. He has also looked at coastal interaction and exchange systems over the last few thousand years.


Archaeological sites throughout the Pacific contain a comprehensive record, in the presence of different types of stone tools or pottery, of the cultural and social importance of long-distance canoe-based travel. His work has shown how dynamic and fluid these patterns of trade and communication have been over time. Much of Richard’s work has involved interactions with contemporary fishing communities, in order to understand indigenous fishing practices. He has worked on archaeological and ethnographic projects in Roviana Lagoon, Western Province of Solomon Islands for more than 25 years. His component of the Connecting Coastal Communites project is focused in Roviana and will be based out of his wife’s home village of Kokorapa on the small barrier reef island of Nusa Roviana.

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