If you Google 'archaeologist' and 'Higham', the first hit is likely to be Charles Higham, a 72-year-old professor who has charted the origins of agriculture and government in southeast Asia.Tom was born in Cambridge, where his father was based until 1966.Then, in the twentieth century, carbon dating found the bones to be about 22,000 years old — even though much of Britain was encased in ice and seemingly uninhabitable for part of that time.When Higham eventually got the bones, his team came up with a more likely scenario: they were closer to 33,000 years old and one of the earliest examples of ceremonial burial in Western Europe.Charles then moved the family and nine-month-old Tom to New Zealand's rugged south island to start an archaeology department at the University of Otago in Dunedin.As a teenager, Tom spent summers at Ban Na Di, a study site in northeastern Thailand, where his duties included helping with human excavations and brewing tea for the crew.Members are not only from the UK but also from other countries around the world.
In 1823, palaeontologist William Buckland painstakingly removed the fossils from a cave in Wales, and discovered ivory rods, shell beads and other ornaments in the vicinity.
Our research takes us all over New Zealand and the world to areas such as southern China, northern Australia, and Southeast Asia.
Collaboration with internationally and nationally renowned researchers from world-class tertiary institutions/laboratories including the University of Oxford (UK), the University of Exeter (UK), Macquarie University (Victoria, Australia), and Université de Savoie (France), the Gondwana Tree Ring Laboratory (Canterbury, NZ), as well as the University of Auckland and the University of Otago in New Zealand, ensure the Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory remains at the cutting-edge of the field.
The Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory is involved in research projects around the globe, which cover a diverse range of radiocarbon dating topics/areas.
Current projects involve researching the history of Arnhem Land ancestral sites in northern Australian, surveying and excavating shell mounds across Cape York Peninsular, studying the high-resolution store of information about past environmental conditions from sub-fossil kauri logs and identifying how Asian civilisations emerged.