Professor Charles Higham

Honorary Fellow
The prehistory of mainland Southeast Asia. The origins of rice domestication, the impact of metallurgy and the origins of states.

Charles Higham came from Raynes Park Grammar School to St Catharine's in 1959 to read Archaeology and Anthropology. He took a double first, and played twice against Oxford for his rugby blue, scoring the opening try in the 1961 victory. After completing his PhD in 1966, he accepted a lectureship at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and in 1968, became the first Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology in Australasia. He has directed a series of major excavations in Thailand over the past half century. 

With the rapid growth of science-based approaches to prehistoric data, I continue to be involved in illuminating the prehistoric past in Southeast Asia. The Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dating has markedly improved the chronological framework within which to weigh cultural change. I am pursuing the recovery of ancient DNA from the human petrous bone to explore the origins of people and social relationships. Lead isotopes are revealing exchange patterns of copper from mine to consumer. The evaluation of climate change data is intergrating environmental and cultural change.

Higham, C.F.W. 1989. The Archaeology of Mainland Southeast Asia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989
Higham, C.F.W. 1996. The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Higham, C.F.W. and R. Thosarat 1998. Prehistoric Thailand. From First Settlement to Sukhothai.. River Books and Thames and Hudson, 226 pages, 1998.
Higham, C.F.W. 2001 The Civilization of Angkor. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Higham, C.F.W. 2002. Early Cultures of Mainland Southeast Asia. Bangkok: River Books.
Higham C.F.W. 2004. Encyclopaedia of Early Asian Civilizations. Facts on File, New York.
Higham, C.F.W.  2013. The Origins of the Civilization of Angkor. London, Bloomsbury.

Fellow of the British Academy
Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit