A Life-Changing Experience on a Remote Atoll
Five university students will have a chance of a lifetime in summer 2010. The Tokelau Science Education and Research Project is allowing USA and international students to apply for participation in our fieldwork in Tokelau in our upcoming field season.
Tokelau is a group of three tiny atolls in the South Pacific. This is one of the smallest and most remote tropical-island nations in the world. There is no airport and access is by a two-day boat trip. Visitors are allowed in Tokelau by invitation only.
Tokelau Science Education and Research Project
The Tokelau Science Education and Research Project is a multidisciplinary and international effort aimed at changing lives by touching each individual in a whole nation with science knowledge. At the same time we are undertaking world-class primary research on topics such as palaeoenvironmental, ethnoecology, geology, botany, marine resource management, biological anthropology, geomorphological change, and terrestrial malacology. Archaeological research topics include, surface and subsurface survey, household excavations, zooarchaeology, archaeo-osteology, 14C research, geochemical characterization, etc.
Global Warming and Sustainable Resource Management
Centuries ago Tokelau faced the same sort of questions that our world community is now facing. Because of the extremely limited terrestrial resources available in an atoll environment, the people of Tokelau long ago had to develop very sophisticated mechanisms for sustainable resource use. Our research is thus focused on a theme of “1000 Years of Sustainable Resource Management.”
Most of Tokelau is less than 2m above sea level. As Global Warming raises sea level worldwide, parts of Tokelau will disappear. There is thus some urgency in documenting this unique culture’s complex history and environmental management mechanisms.
Fieldschool students will actively participate in the project research and will learning basic archaeological field techniques. Participants will serve as peer mentors for Tokelau students and will work in small “learning teams” with a scientist, Tokelauan students, and Samoan university students. Students interested in participating in the non-archaeology aspects of the project research may apply for the fieldschool, but this must be arranged well before registration. Contact Dr. David Addison to discuss your interest area.
This year the project fieldwork will be entirely on Atafu Atoll (see this link for details about this island) or Nukunonu Atoll.
The fieldschool will have two sessions of about 3 weeks (the exact arrival and departure will depend on possible ship-schedule changes). These will be during June and July. Dates for each session will be confirmed in Spring Semester. If you are interested in attending, please keep in contact with Dr. David Addison, because scheduling is dependent on the ship MV Tokelau schedule and other unforeseeable factors. Participants should book their flights to return home from Apia for approximately a week later than the ship’s return to Apia (this will accommodate any changes in the return ship schedule and allow you to visit Samoa as well).
The course fee is US$4,994. This covers UHH tuition for Anth 482, RT sea transport Apia to Tokelau, food (3 meals/day), simple lodging in Tokelau, and surface transport in Tokelau.
You are responsible for arranging and paying for your own RT travel to Apia and for food and lodging costs in Apia as well as any other incidental expenses. If you are accepted for the fieldschool you will be provided with details on travelling to Apia. Do not purchase tickets before completing registration and payment and after email confirmation from Dr. Addison of your acceptance and the final schedule for your session.
Living conditions in Tokelau
Tokelau is a remote location where life is simple, basic, and joy-filled. There is normally electrical power 24/7. Telephone connections with the outside are satellite-based and variable. Internet access is slow and there will be very limited student-access time.
If you are interested in applying for inclusion in the UHH Tokelau Fieldschool, send us an essay explaining your past experience and why you would like to participate in this cultural and research opportunity. Essays should be no more than two pages long and sent by email attachment in .DOC, .RTF, or .PDF formats. Submit essays to instructor Dr. David Addison.
Applications will be reviewed as received until all spaces are filled. You can expect to receive a response to your application essay within 2 weeks. Successful applicants will be given further information on travel arrangements, registration and payment.
You are not required to have archaeological coursework or field experience to join this project. However, some of the things we will consider when selecting students (and which you may want to address in your essay) are:
- Personal motivation, positive attitude, adaptability, and ability to work well with others;
- Experience in grassroots cross-cultural settings;
- An attitude of service to society and community;
- Prior participation in archaeology courses; and
- The ability to speak a Polynesian language is useful.
For More Information:
Dr. David Addison
Phone: (684) 258-4104