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people digging in dirt doing excavation work
James M. Bayman records notes in background while UH undergraduate student Jacqueline Fee and University of Guam student Andrew Viloudaki conduct an archaeological excavation in Guam in 2008.

Settlement patterns in ancient Micronesia will be investigated using cutting-edge technology thanks to a nearly $150,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa leads the archaeological research project.

Co-director James M. Bayman, a Department of Anthropology professor in the College of Social Sciences, said the two-year archaeological and ethnographic field project on the islands of Kosrae and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia will produce new knowledge about patterns of migration in ancient Micronesia.

The innovative project will focus on Indigenous, community-based archaeology and ethnography, the branch of anthropology dealing with scientific description of individual cultures.

“Islanders from Kosrae and Pohnpei will work with archaeologists on coastal and drone Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) surveys to contrast that kind of data with their own traditional knowledge about their origins and migration in the region,” said Bayman. “The goal is co-production of knowledge using the two different optics in ethnographic sessions. This signifies an exciting partnership with traditional community leaders and young people, including four student interns from the College of Micronesia.”

person smiling at camera
James M. Bayman

Bayman is an anthropological archaeologist with decades of experience in the Pacific—including the Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Hawaiʻi—and North America, especially the Southwestern U.S.

Also on the research team is principal investigator and director John A. Peterson, a UH Mānoa anthropology graduate affiliate faculty. The project includes colleagues of Peterson and Bayman in Australia and the Federated States of Micronesia.

This work is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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