Memories of Wilhelm “Bill” G. Solheim, II

My own interest in the bioarchaeology of Southeast Asia, as well as that of several of my doctoral students, was largely due to the warm welcome and encouragement I received from Bill when I joined the department in 1969. While he was a giant in his field, Bill was also well remembered for his generous spirit, kind and gentle manner, and his lack of pretension. Those of us who were lucky to have our offices in Dean Hall also remember, with great fondness, his wife, Ludy Montenegro Solheim, who among other things provided great Filipino food at lunchtime. A collection of papers written by former students and colleagues, including several that provide personal insight, were presented to Bill on his eightieth birthday in a festschrift (Paz, 2004). Two years later, his big opus detailing his “Nusantao” hypothesis on Austronesian dispersals was published (Solheim, 2006). I feel very privileged to have known Bill Solheim as a colleague and friend.

Michael Pietrusewsky
Department of Anthropology
University of Hawaii at Manoa

It was Bill Solheim who introduced me to Southeast Asian prehistory. In 1968, I traveled to Hawaii to meet Donn Bayard and Chet Gorman, to see if either would be interested in a position in the Otago Department. Bill met me at the airport. Towards the end of my few days there, he asked if I would be interested in joining his group then involved in the Mekong Valley project to survey sites threatened by the construction of dams and consequent inundation. His personal warmth and deep interest in all things Southeast Asian have always been at the forefront of our friendship, which never wavered despite the occasional difference of opinion over issues which pale before the immense debt of gratitude we all owe him for his contribution to archaeology in what is one of the most exciting parts of the world. The sparkle in his eye might have dimmed slightly when I last saw him at the IPPA meeting in Hanoi, but I know how much he appreciated being there, among his legion of friends.

Professor Charles Higham
Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
University of Otago, New Zealand

Please send us your memories of Bill to Mark Oxley <oxley@hawaii.edu>, Anthropology Labs Manager and Anthropology Undergraduate Advising Coordinator, for us to post!