New Perspectives in Southeast Asian and Pacific Prehistory
This collection is dedicated to a remarkable figure in Indo-Pacific archaeology. I first came across Peter Bellwood’s work when rapidly preparing myself for an unexpected trip to New Britain in 1980 with Jim Specht. I bought a copy of Peter’s magisterial Man’s Conquest of the Pacific, as there was nothing else even remotely similar that would bring me up to speed on the state of the art as we then understood it. It cost a lot for a student, but it was worth every cent! It is still on my bookshelf and I still periodically refer to it, if only to remind myself how far we have come (or not).
Since then, Peter has produced a number of other indispensable reference works as well as a multitude of papers, reports and the like. He also ran the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association (IPPA), which I usually describe as the peak professional body in the region. He took up the reins, initially as Secretary and Editor, at IPPA’s Pune congress in India in 1978, the same year Man’s Conquest appeared, and handed over to me as Secretary General 21 years later, after IPPA’s Hanoi meeting in Vietnam in 2009.
What a record of service! In that time, IPPA grew from a tiny group of colleagues to one that now has hundreds of members around the world, and brought almost 1,000 delegates together at the last congress held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in early 2014. Peter continues to provide the elected members of the IPPA Executive and me with very welcome advice and support while also advancing his fieldwork in various parts of IPPA’s domain. Long may he carry on! With that, I commend to you the work that follows, in recognition of Peter’s extraordinary contribution to Indo-Pacific archaeology.