Faculty of Arts - Anthropology

Professor Simon Holdaway

MA (Otago), PhD (Penn)


Professor Simon Holdaway

Anthropology, Social Sciences

Email: sj.holdaway@auckland.ac.nz

Extension: 83947 (ph + 64 9 373 7599)

Human Sciences Building
10 Symonds St
Level 7
Room 720

Research interests

Archaeology: Australian, Egyptian, New Zealand archaeology; stone artefact analysis; archaeological theory; GIS.


Current research

Current research

  1. Human environmental relationships in the tropical north of Australia. With colleagues from Macquarie University, ANU, University of Waikato and QUT I am investigating the coastal archaeology of the Weipa region in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan. We are investigating the large number of shell mounds in the Weipa region studying their construction, chronology and composition. Funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant 2011-2013.
  2. Early agriculture in Egypt with colleagues from UCLA and Rijksuniversiteit. I am interested in how mobile people adapted to variable past environments. The Egyptian research deals with people who were just developing agriculture, adapting to fluctuating desert environments in the mid-Holocene but continuing to pursue a mobile lifestyle. Funded by a Marsden Grant 2012-2014.


Previous projects

  1. The Western New South Wales Archaeological Project (WNSWAP) with Associate Professor Patricia Fanning, Macquarie University, investigating Holocene surface archaeology from a geoarchaeological perspective. We are particularly interested in issues of chronology and the interpretation of long-term human behaviour as well as stone artefact technology.
  2. I have a long term interest in the study of stone artefacts in general with a particular interest in Australia.
  3. I direct a research group with interests in the historic archaeology of Taranaki, New Zealand. In 2004 we excavated the site of Oropuriri, a 19th century Māori village as a contract for Transit NZ.

Professor Simon Holdaway's Research

Postgraduate supervision

Current and recent PhD students

Alex Jorgensen (The University of Auckland) current

Ben Davies (The University of Auckland) current

Gerard O’Reagan (The University of Auckland) current

Tessa Bryant (Macquarie University) current

Rachel Scott (The University of Auckland) current

Rebecca Phillips (University of Auckland) submitted 2011

Matt Douglass (The University of Auckland, completed 2010) “The Archaeological Potential of Informal Lithic Technologies”

Current and recent MA students

Daniel Parker (current)

Kane Ditchfield (current)

Josh Emmit (current)

Casey Alley (current)

Shezani Nasoordeen (completed 2010)

Professor Simon Holdaway's Postgraduate Supervision

Recent publications

2011 publications

Doelman, T. and S. J. Holdaway. Standardisation and Design: The Tula Adze. In Benjamin Marwick and Alexander Mackay (eds) Keeping Your Edge. British Archaeological Records, International Series, Oxford.

Douglass, M. J. and S.J. Holdaway. Quantifying Stone Raw Material Size Distributions: Investigating Cortex Proportions in Lithic Assemblages from Western New South Wales, In J. Specht and R. Torrence (eds), Changing Perspectives in Australian Archaeology, Part IV. Technical Reports of the Australian Museum, Online, 23. Sydney: Australian Museum. doi:10.3853/j.1835-4211.23.2011.1569

Holdaway, S. J. and H. Allen. A retrospective review of Richard A. Gould (1980) Living Archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Journal of Ethnoarchaeology 3(2): 203-220.

Phillipps, R., Holdaway, S. J., Wendrich, W. and Cappers, R. Mid Holocene Occupation of Egypt and Links to Global Climatic Change. Quaternary International 2011 10.1016/j.quaint.2011.04.004

Holdaway, S. J., and M. Douglass. A Twenty-first Century Archaeology of Stone Artifacts. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. DOI: 10.1007/s10816-011-9103-6

2010 publications

Holdaway, S. J., Fanning, P. C., Rhodes, E. Marx, S. Floyd, B. and Douglass, M. Human response to Palaeoenvironmental change and the question of temporal scale. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 292: 190-210.

Rhodes, E. J., P. C. Fanning, S. J. Holdaway. Developments in optically stimulated luminescence age control for geoarchaeological sediments and hearths in western New South Wales, Australia. Quaternary Geochronology 5(2-3): 348-352.

Lin, S., Douglass, M., Holdaway, S. J., Floyd, B. The Application of 3D Laser Scanning Technology to the Assessment of Ordinal and Mechanical Cortex Quantification in Lithic Analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 694-702.

Holdaway, S.J., Wendrich, W., Phillipps, R. Variability in Low Level Food Production Societies as a Response to Resource Uncertainty Antiquity 84(323):185-194.

2009 publications

Fanning, P. C., Holdaway, S. J., Phillipps, R. Heat retainer hearth identification as a component of archaeological survey in western NSW, Australia. In Fairbairn, A. and O’Connor, S. (eds.) New Directions in Archaeological Science. Terra Australis 28. pp 13-23. Canberra: ANU E-Press.

Holdaway S. J., Fanning P. C., Littleton J. Assessing the frequency distribution of radiocarbon determinations from the Late Holocene in western NSW, Australia. In Fairbairn, A. and O’Connor, S. (eds.) New Directions in Archaeological Science. Terra Australis 28. pp 1-11. Canberra: ANU E-Press.

Phodes E. J., Fanning P. C., Holdaway S. J., Bolton C. Ancient surfaces? Dating archaeological surfaces in western NSW using OSL. In Fairbairn, A. and O’Connor, S. (eds.) New Directions in Archaeological Science. Terra Australis 28. pp 189-200. Canberra: ANU E-Press.

Allen, H. and S. J. Holdaway. The Archaeology of Mungo and the Willandra Lakes: Looking Back, Looking Forward. Archaeology in Oceania 44:96-106.

Fanning, P. C., Holdaway, S. J. and Bryant, T. The surface archaeological record in arid Australia: geomorphic controls on preservation, exposure and visibility. Geoarchaeology 24: 121-146.

2008 publications

Holdaway, S. J. and Wandsnider, L. (eds) Time in Archaeology, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. 2008.

Holdaway, S. J. and L. Wandsnider. Time in Archaeology: An Introduction. In Holdaway, S. and L. Wandsnider (eds) Time in Archaeology, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. 2008, pp 1-12.

Holdaway, S. J., Fanning, P. and Rhodes, E. Assemblage Accumulation as a Time Dependent Process in the Arid Zone of Western New South Wales, Australia. In Holdaway, S. and L. Wandsnider (eds) Time in Archaeology, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. 2008, pp 110-133.

Fanning, P., S. J., Holdaway, and E. Rhodes. A new geoarchaeology of Aboriginal artefact deposits in western NSW, Australia: establishing spatial and temporal geomorphic controls on the surface archaeological record. Geomorphology 101:524-532 2008. 

Holdaway, S. J., Douglass, M. and P. Fanning. Assemblage formation as a result of raw material acquisition in western New South Wales, Australia. Lithic Technology 23(1): 1-16. 2008.

Douglass, M., S. J. Holdaway, P. C. Fanning and J. I. Shiner. An Assessment And Archaeological Application Of Cortex Measurement In Lithic Assemblages. American Antiquity 73(3): 513-526. 2008.

Holdaway, S. J. and P. Fanning. Developing a Landscape History as Part of a Survey Strategy: A Critique of Current Settlement System Approaches based on Case Studies from Western New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 15(2):167-189, 2008.

Holdaway, S. J., P. Fanning and E. Rhodes. Challenging Intensification: human – environment interactions in the Holocene geoarchaeological record from western New South Wales, Australia. The Holocene 18(3):411-420. 2008.

Allen, H., S. J. Holdaway, P. Fanning and J. Littleton. Footprints in the Sand: Appraising the Archaeology of the Willandra Lakes. Antiquity 82: 11-24. 2008.

Professor Simon Holdaway's Recent Publications

Career history

After finishing an MA degree in Anthropology at the University of Otago I moved to the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia graduating with a PhD in 1991. I taught at The University of Auckland for a year in 1992 before taking up a post-doctoral fellowship at La Trobe University in 1993. I subsequently lectured at La Trobe from 1994-1998, returning to The University of Auckland in 1999. I am currently Professor in the Department of Anthropology.

Current teaching

Course Title Availability in 2015
ANTHRO 206 Origins of Civilisation Semester 2
ANTHRO 318 Approaches to Archaeological Science Semester 1
ANTHRO 322 Special Topic: Origins of Civilisation Semester 2
ANTHRO 700 /700 A B Method and Theory in Archaeology Semester 1 and 2 (full year)
ANTHRO 703 /703 A B Landscape Archaeology Semester 1 and 2 (full year)

Professor Simon Holdaway's Teaching

FAQs | Contact details | Search | Copyright | Privacy | Feedback on this page .