July 10, 2019
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Bishop Museum Appoints Jillian Swift as Museum’s New Archaeologist
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum has hired Jillian Swift as the museum’s new archaeologist. Swift joins the museum with more than a decade of archaeological research and experience in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. In her new post, Swift will build an environmental archaeology research program focused on seeking new discoveries from the museum’s legacy collections, and initiating new community-engaged field projects in Hawaiʻi and elsewhere in Polynesia.
Prior to joining Bishop Museum, Swift held a postdoctoral research position within the Department of Archaeology at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. There, she applied cutting-edge methods in archaeological science to the study of human-environment interactions in the Pacific. Her work examined human land use patterns across three Polynesian islands using an unusual source: isotopically-reconstructed Pacific rat diet. This research incorporated analysis of Pacific rats from excavations on Tikopia Island, which are now housed in the museum’s archaeology collections. In addition, Swift has conducted extensive field research in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific with Dr. Patrick Kirch – professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and a member of Bishop Museum’s Board of Directors. Swift’s field work has taken her to the Gambier Islands in French Polynesia; as well as Honouliuli, O‘ahu; Leeward Kohala on the Island of Hawai‘i; and Kahikinui and Kaupō on Maui. These latter two regions of Maui are the feature of Kirch’s most recent book on the island’s ancient temple system, “Heiau, ‘Āina, Lani.”
Swift holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. She also completed a B.A. in Anthropology at New York University.
“We are thrilled to have Jillian join the Bishop Museum ‘ohana,” said Melanie Ide, president & CEO of Bishop Museum. “Her knowledge, approach, and expertise in Pacific and Hawaiian archaeology will lead to further integration and collaboration between our community’s research efforts, and significantly contribute to our mission of exploring, understanding, and ultimately perpetuating our island culture and environment.”
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