This listing expired on July 1, 2016. Please contact for any updated information.
French Polynesia: Marquesan Heritage and Indigenous Studies Field School

Location: French Polynesia

June 18, 2016 to July 30, 2016

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, May 15, 2016

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school



Andover Foundation for Archaeological Research

Project Director:

Prof. Barry Rolett, University of Hawaii, Andover Foundation for Archaeological Research

Project Description

Discover the South Pacific! The Marquesas project is a six week field school experience on Tahuata, a remote island with a rich history. Participants are fully immersed in a small community while working with Marquesans and living as the only foreigners on an island with no airport, no hotels, and no restaurants.

The Marquesas are one of the best known yet least visited archipelagoes in the South Pacific. Polynesians discovered these stunningly beautiful islands over 800 years ago. Founders of chiefdoms and an artistic tradition centered on the iconic tiki, Marquesans are an enduring indigenous people with an exceptional cultural heritage. Tahuata, our project location, is one of the most traditional islands in French Polynesia. Now in its eleventh year, the 2016 field school focuses on Te Ana Peua, a unique community-based archaeology museum. Join the excitement of working with the local community and our team to add a new exhibit gallery that celebrates the essence of Marquesan culture while safeguarding the island’s archaeological heritage. Gain experience in indigenous studies, heritage management and archaeology.

Tahuata is accessible only by a one-hour boat ride from the nearby island of Hiva Oa.  We fly to Hiva Oa from Tahiti on Air Tahiti.

Our project focuses on the first community-based archaeology museum in French Polynesia. The museum exhibits address questions such as “When and how did Polynesians first reach the Marquesas?” and “How are Marquesans related to other Pacific Islanders?” Such questions are deeply relevant to the Marquesan community as it strives to maintain its unique identity even in the face of globalization. Our own collections and research efforts involving the local community help answer these questions.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
French language ability helpful

Room and Board Arrangements

Our headquarters are in the picturesque village of Vaitahu. There is one small stores that bakes French baguettes daily. The field school is small and intellectually engaging. We both live and work closely with our host community. Our house has a modern kitchen and toilet facilities (no hot water). Marquesan Islanders will also participate in the project, providing close links to the community. As the only outsiders in the village, participants are immersed in the local lifestyle.


US$5,000 project fee plus airfare to Marquesas. Project fee covers all expenses, including accommodation and food.

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered Contact Prof. Rolett


Contact Information
Prof. Barry Rolett 

University of Hawaii 

Recommended Bibliography: 

Kjellgren, Eric. 2005. Adorning the World: Art of the Marquesas Islands. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Rolett, Barry V. 1998. Hanamiai: Prehistoric Colonization and Cultural Change in the Marquesas Islands (East Polynesia).  Yale University Publications in Anthropology No. 81.  New Haven: Department of Anthropology and the Peabody Museum, Yale University.

Thomas, Nicholas. 1990. Marquesan Societies: Inequality and Political Transformation in Eastern Polynesia.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.