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Cambridge Heritage Research Centre


Niche Construction, Heritage Ecology, and Ancient Sāmoan Agriculture

Dr Ethan Cochrane (Associate Professor, University of Auckland)

This will be a hybrid event held in-person at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Downing Street, Cambridge and Online on Zoom. 

To Registration to attend online click to here



The Pacific Islands have nurtured a 3000 year human history with cultural lineages intertwining landscape, settlement, and cultivation change. From these lineages we can learn of the recursive processes that have modified environments, changed subsistence strategies, and rearranged the use of space.

Although many details remain obscured, in this presentation we will focus on Sāmoa’s history of cultivation from swiddening to extensive rock wall field systems and ditch complexes. Using the lens of niche construction, we will also look at domestic space, local and regional environments, and how change in these domains likely influenced each other.



Ethan has conducted archaeological research in Hawaiʻi, Micronesia, Fiji, Sāmoa, and Papua New Guinea. His work focuses on artefacts, environments, evolution and ecology. He was a lecturer at the UCL Institute of Archaeology from 2005-2010 and is now Associate Professor in Anthropology at the University of Auckland.


Thursday, 3 November, 2022 - 13:00
Event location: 
HYBRID: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Seminar Room and Online on Zoom