P. Bion Griffin

P. Bion Griffin, PhD

Professor Emeritus

Current Research
Vitae (in a new window)


I received my B.A. in History and English at the University of Maine in 1963 and my Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Arizona in 1969 with a specialization in archaeology, under the direction of Dr. William A. Longacre. My interests in ethnoarchaeology and hunting-gathering societies began during studies at the University of Arizona. Upon joining the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai'i in 1969, I combined an interest in Hawaiian archaeology with research in the Philippines. My hosts were the Agta people, who live in the Sierra Madre of eastern Luzon. I first began research in Palanan, Isabela, the Philippines, in 1972. In 1974 my wife, Agnes (Annie) and son, Marcus, and I began long-term residence to the north and south of Palanan.

Between late 1980 and mid-1982 we lived with a group of Agta in southern Cagayan Province, studying the subsistence, especially hunting, practices of women in this group. My Ph.D. student, Thomas Headland of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, completed his doctorate based on years of residence among a more southerly Agta group. Another student, Navin Rai, completed his doctorate among another Agta group in San Mariano, Isabela Province.

My student Constance (Connie) Clark conducted in 1985 her MA research among the same Agta with whom we lived 1980-82. Marcus Griffin completed his doctorate (University of Illinois 1996) among the Palanan Agta, with whom he had resided as a child. I am especially proud of these former students who are now outstanding professional anthropologists. My research and writing concerning the Agta is ongoing, appearing in print and on the internet. I remain committed to ethnography of the Agta.

In the early to mid-1990s I was principal investigator on a grant to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies, University of Hawai'i, for study of the place of the sago palm in the culture, ecology, and development of Maluku Province, Indonesia. My student, Kyle Latinis (ruiziang@singnet.com.sg), completed his doctoral dissertation on subsistence systems and aboriculture among villagers on Seram, Maluku, Indonesia, as part of this Henry Luce Foundation funded research.  My student Ken Stark (Ken.Stark@kwantlen.ca), also completed his doctoral studies in Maluku, focusing on excavations on the island of Ambon, Seram, and Buru.

During the 1990s I was Co-Director of the Program in the Anthropology and Archaeology of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and have been in charge of the UH exchange agreement with the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh.  My student, Mike Dega (dega@hawaii.edu), completed his doctoral dissertation based on excavations of circular mounded earthworks sites in eastern Cambodia.  Bong Sovath (bongsovath@yahoo.com) from the royal University of Fine Arts, completed his Ph.D. dissertation concerning a ceramic chronology at Angkor Borei, Cambodia, where my colleague, Dr. Miriam Stark is now directing research at this ancient city in the upper Mekong Delta.

Current Research:

I recently completed the East Cambodia Archaeological Survey and am revising the final report.  The main portion of the fieldwork was guided by the late Bertell D. Davis, working with several Cambodian colleagues.  Following a seed grant from the Social Science Research Center, I was awarded a fellowship funded by the council of Overseas America Research Centers through the Center for Khmer Studies.  The fellowship is for "Ethnography of Cambodian Elephant Husbandry," and will be utilized in 2006 and 2007.  Research among the Agta of northeastern Luzon resumes in 2006.  My interests in Cambodian, Philippines, and Indonesian archaeology and ethnography continues.  Of special note is the research of my former student, Lye Tuck Po (tuckpo@streamyx.com), along the Stung Saen, Kampong Thom, Cambodia. 

A Bibliography of the Agta Negritos of Eastern Luzon, Philippines by Thomas N. Headland and P. Bion Griffin is available at http://www.sil.org/silewp/1997/004/silewp1997-004.html

Selected Writings:

2004 Archaeological Research and Cultural Heritage Management in Cambodia's Mekong Delta: The Search for the "Cradle of Khmer Civilization." in Marketing Heritage: Archaeology and the Consumption of the Past, Yorke Rowan and Uzi Baram, eds., Altamira Press. Pp. 117-141. Junior author with Miriam Stark.

2002 A Many-Faced Heritage: the Wars of Indochina. In Archaeology of 20th Century Conflict, edited by John Schofield, William Gray Johnson, and Coleen Beck. Routledge, pp. 208-215.

2000 Agta Hunting and Resource Sustainability in Northeastern Luzon, Philippines. In Evaluating the Sustainability of Hunting in Tropical Forests, edited by John G. Robinson and Elizabeth L. Bennett,Columbia University Press, New York. Senior author with M. B. Griffin. Pp 325-335..

1997 Agta Foragers: Alternative Histories and Cultural Autonomy. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 8(3):259-269. Junior author with Marcus B. Griffin.

1997 Technology and Variation in Arrow Design. In Projectile Technology, edited by Heidi Knecht, Plenum Press, New York. Pp. 267-286.

1992 Childcare by Fathers among the Agta of the Philippines. In The Father-Child Relationship: Developmental, Symbolic, and Evolutionary Perspectives, edited by Barry Hewlett, Aldine de Gruyter, Hawthorne, NY. pp. 297-320. (Senior author with Marcus B. Griffin).

1991 Philippine Agta Forager-Serfs: Commodities and Exploitation. In Cash, Commoditisation and Changing Foragers, edited by Nicolas Peterson and Toshio Matsuyama, Senri Ethnological Studies no. 30, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan, pp. 199 - 222.

1989 Hunting, Farming, and Sedentism in a Rain Forest Foraging Society. InFarmers as Hunters - The Implications of Sedentism, edited by Susan Kent. Cambridge University Press, pp. 60-70.

1985 The Compatibility of Hunting and Mothering among the Agta Hunter-Gatherers of the Philippines. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research l2(ll/l2):1199-1209. (Joint Author)

1985 Menarche, Pregnancy, Birth Spacing and Menopause among Agta Women Foragers of Cagayan Province, Luzon, the Philippines. Annals of Human Biology 12(2):169-177. (Joint Author)

1985 The Agta of Northeastern Luzon: Recent Studies. Humanities Series, University of San Carlos Publications, Cebu City, Philippines. (Senior editor with Agnes Estioko-Griffin).