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Rendezvous with Dr. Richard Shutler
*****Richard Shutler is perhaps now best known to students of Archeology in Polynesia for his work in New Caledonia with E. W. Gifford. In July of 1952 they excavated the now famous site 13 which they named Lapita. This site yielded fragments of an ancient, elaborately decorated pottery which has been latterly found widely distributed in Polynesia. Today the terms, Lapita pottery and the Lapita Culture, have become well established, indeed the very roots of Polynesian ancestry are considered to be of Lapitoid origin. Now after over 40 years of research Dr. Shutler must be considered as one of the leading experts in the field of Lapita and Archeology in Polynesia. It was for me therefore a fortunate coincidence that he happened to be in his office, when I telephoned the Department of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University.
*****Archeology and in a greater sense Anthropology are fields of research and investigation which are perhaps more fascinating and rewarding than almost any other. Once it gets into your blood there is little else in the world that can long distract one from this vital and important work. The dedication and energy of Dr. Shutler who is ever ready to tackle yet another expedition in the cause of Archeology, ample proof. Just now he was organizing his departure for a prehistoric site in Northern China where there may be evidence of one of the oldest human occupations ever discovered. One would think the prospect of archeology in Tubuai rather pale by comparison, this however was not the opinion of Dr. Shutler who was eager to see my work and showed much interest in the Tubuai artifacts which I had brought to the University to photograph.
*****Within a short time it was evident that our meeting was destined to be more than a brief encounter and soon we were thrashing out the logistics of an expedition to Tubuai. I had brought with me copies of Volume 17 and 18 and from these it was possible to envision a further extension of the work started with Marimari Kellum in an endeavor to locate early sites. Certainly the artifact evidence was beginning to confirm the presence of an early occupation. I felt confident that given more extensive excavation an early site would be found. Before however there were all the formalities and authorizations to attend to. I returned to Tahiti with renewed energy and high spirits imagining that as last we might be able to resolve the issue of early settlement in Tubuai. Implementological research has paved the way, now it remains for Archeology to precision the actual date of these occupations.
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