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Thomas G. Thrum and John F.G. Stokes: Australian archaeologists in paradise in the early twentieth century

Matthew Spriggs


Thomas George Thrum (1842–1932) and John Francis Gray Stokes (1875–1960) were both born in Newcastle, New South Wales but spent most of their adult lives in Hawaii with long associations with the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Thrum came to Hawaii in 1853 and in later life published details of over 500 Hawaiian heiau (temples). His first specifically archaeological paper was published in 1900. Stokes came to Hawaii in 1899 to work for the Bishop Museum’s Director, William T. Brigham, and for many years his position was as a museum ethnologist, carrying out archaeological surveys and studying material culture. After Brigham retired, Stokes was never in favour with the new Director Herbert E. Gregory. He was let go by the Museum in 1929. In Stokes’s own view he had an ‘unmade reputation’. But his own contribution to Thrum’s status as the ‘Dean of Hawaiian Antiquarians’ has been misunderstood, which is why in part his significance as Hawaii’s first professional archaeologist has been underestimated.


Hawaiian Archaeology; John F.G. Stokes; Thomas G. Thrum; William T. Brigham

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ISSN (print) 1179 4704; ISSN (online) 1179 4712
Published with the assistance of the Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, University of Otago.
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